SEA PD Week: Using Technology to Simplify Shared Measurements and Data Collection by Kelli Keck

Hey, there! I am Kelli Keck. I work as the Vice President of Epiphany Community Services, an evaluation and consulting firm that focuses on collaborations and community coalitions. I have found it difficult to obtain consistent process and outcome data from collective impact and collaborative partners. Simplifying the data collection process allows for continuous review and evaluation of efforts.

Evaluation participants and evaluators can use online tools to develop a framework for shared data collection.  These tools will prove useful to the individual user, collective impact projects, and collaborations.

Rad Resources:

I primarily use the software Reach Evaluation to support my evaluation efforts. Here are some Hot Tips that I have found useful when using online tools:

Hot Tips:

  1. Identify Common Goals and Measures. Work collaboratively with all collaborative partners to identify common goals and shared measures. I have found that engaging partners in identifying the needs and outcomes of the data collection makes it more likely that they will be active participants in that data collection. This process also allows partners to create a shared language for communication about data collection and evaluation.
  1. Train Partners on Software. Provide training to partners on how to use online software. Demonstrate how valuable it can be to them on an individual level, as well as on a group level. This shared experience also allows for a deeper connection between partners.
  1. Control Reporting and Display. Use an online system to control how data is reported and displayed. It also shows how efforts are aligned to specific logic models or theories of change. It requires participants to report the appropriate shared measures that relate to outcomes. The ability to see the efforts across partners can increase the likelihood of gap identification as part of the improvement process.
  1. Increase Accountability. Use online tools to increase the accountability of the data collection process. These systems facilitate timely and consistent reporting of efforts and shared measures. This simplifies the accountability process as members can identify the reporting efforts of others, and provide support as needed to increase reporting as required.

Using online tools, I have found it easier to answer the question of “Why can’t we all just get along and collect data?”

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Southeast Evaluation Association (SEA) Affiliate Professional Development Week with our colleagues in the SEA Affiliate. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from SEA Affiliate members. 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.

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