Greetings AEA365 bloggers! Corey Newhouse and Stephanie Kong here from Public Profit – a consulting firm helping mission-driven organizations measure and manage what matters. If you are like us, you often need to facilitate meaning-making sessions with stakeholders from all levels. Programs are being asked to use more and more data, but it can be overwhelming and confusing as to where they should start – or where you should start if you are the one who is suppose to be supporting them.
Luckily we’ve taken some of the legwork out of this process, and have put together a set of field-tested activities that work in a variety of programs and contexts. Our guide, Dabbling in the Data, provides step-by-step guidance on 15 different approaches to participatory activities that cover distribution, change over time, contribution, categories, and communicating findings. Our hope is that this guide will help you clear the hurdle of participatory methods, allowing you to engage others in meaningful, fun conversations about data.
- Participatory data methods are difficult! Simply knowing best practices doesn’t guarantee success. In putting together this guide, we started from common facilitation methods, and then adapted them for participatory data sessions.
- Programs often have the data they need in order to make well-informed decisions, but don’t know what to do with it. Likewise, teams want to interact with their data, but don’t have the time to figure out where to begin, thus they stop using data as effectively.
- Without a structured approach to interpreting the data, often the first person to speak up will set the agenda for the entire group. Meaningful insights are easily overlooked when this happens. The approaches in this guide have been set up to help drive engagement from multiple stakeholders.
- Ready to dabble? Check out Public Profit’s Dabbling in the Data guide to help build your team’s (or client’s) ability to make meaning of data.
- Need a refresher on Participatory data analysis? Check out this informational blog post we wrote with our amazing colleague Kylie Hutchinson of Community Solutions.
- Want to dive even deeper? Read Nancy K. Franz’s piece The Data Party: Involving Stakeholders in Meaningful Data Analysis from the Journal of Extension.
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