Some evaluation data-from surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observations-will be collected by your evaluation team. Other data-such as participant characteristics, class attendance, and administrative records-will be collected by program staff or the sponsoring organization. You and your evaluator will need to decide on the following:
- What information will be transmitted to the evaluation team? Unless some data are confidential, the evaluator should request copies of program records and administrative data extracts. For survey and attendance data, the evaluation team should receive completed surveys and attendance records with unique identifiers (if applicable) purged of any other information that could identify respondents, such as names.
- How will information be transmitted to the evaluation team? All paper documents and data should be transmitted in sealed envelopes. Electronic data should be encrypted and saved on a disk. Ideally, evaluation staff should pick up the data or it should be mailed using a reputable mail service that allows tracking. Label all envelopes and electronic media with contact information for key evaluation staff.
- Never fax data and never send data via email!
- When and how often will information be transmitted to the evaluation team? This depends on the evaluation questions, evaluation design, and client agreements. For example, attendance records and survey data may be transmitted weekly, monthly, or at the conclusion of the program. Your evaluator should request participant characteristics data, program materials, and other historical program records (e.g., funding application) at the start of the evaluation.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research & Evaluation. The Program Manager's Guide to Evaluation Glossary.
- Human Subjects Research, Protecting Human Subjects Training Health Resources and Services Administration
- Boyd, H. (2002) Making sure your electronic data are accurate: Quick tips #22. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension, Cooperative Extension.
- StatPac, Inc. (n.d.). Designing surveys and questionnaires. Bloomington, MN: Author. (Web Page)