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How to Improve Partners’ Data Quality and Strengthen Your Relationships by Masha Keller

Hello, AEA365 community! Liz DiLuzio here, Lead Curator of the blog. This week is Individuals Week, which means we take a break from our themed weeks and spotlight the Hot Tips, Cool Tricks, Rad Resources and Lessons Learned from any evaluator interested in sharing. Would you like to contribute to future individuals weeks? Email me at AEA365@eval.org with an idea or a draft and we will make it happen.

Hi there! My name is Masha Keller, and I am a mixed-methods researcher and evaluator. I work on issues such as child abuse prevention, criminal justice, and public health.

Author Masha Keller

As an evaluator, I often rely on non-technical partners to administer surveys, fill out templates, and submit data back to me. The quality of reporting and analysis is often at the mercy of my partners’ data quality and submission timeliness.

So, what can be done to help partners send better data on time?

Traditionally, evaluators relied on survey administration guides and standard operating procedure documents to instruct partners. I found that the conventional tools benefit from an accompanying instructional video.

Lessons Learned

Here are some of ways an instructional video can be helpful:

  1. Videos deliver information faster. Many people lack the patience and time to read a long document. If you are describing a multi-step process, it is more effective to follow an instructional video—especially such as filling out a data collection template.
  2. Partners are more likely to remember something from an instructional video. Text is stored in our short-term memory, where space is limited, and retention is brief. Videos go to our long-term memory. The effect also gets stronger over time.
  3. Videos create a connection with our partners that can allow us to better serve their needs. In a remote world, evaluators are often far removed from their partners. Our partners are also often intimidated by data and evaluation. Hearing the researcher speak on video and seeing their face creates a sense of familiarity. This can result in a closer relationship with the evaluator and decrease hesitancy to reach out with additional questions.

The feedback from partners about adding videos has been positive. They love the flexibility of tutorials on their own time and ability to follow along the explanations at their own speed. They also believed it is easier to onboard new colleagues who are not data savvy.

Rad Resource

If you want to create an instructional video, there are lots of different software to create videos. My favorite is Loom. It allows screen sharing, video editing, and branding for your organization. You can try it for free.

Give the instructional video method a try to see if it improves your data quality and partner relationships!

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators. The views and opinions expressed on the AEA365 blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the American Evaluation Association, and/or any/all contributors to this site.

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