Often, when providers think of data analysis, they think of something that the evaluator does at the end of the program after all of the data have been collected. This practice might be commonplace, but certainly is not optimal. Evaluators should be feeding providers data and information throughout the stages of evaluation in order to guide improvements in program implementation, as well as data collection strategies.
So, while data analysis is the evaluator's responsibility, both the evaluator and the provider have the responsibility for on-going communication throughout the stages of evaluation.
Provider Roles and Responsibilities
- Understand the implications of key analytic decisions for the conclusions that can and cannot be drawn
- Provide feedback on the program narrative developed by the evaluator
- Double check program data when it is entered by the evaluator to ensure its accuracy
- Have program staff verify data quarterly or monthly to make sure it is correct
Evaluator Roles and Responsibilities
- Assemble, clean, code, and analyze all evaluation data
- Keep provider apprised of problems with data quality that may hinder ability to address evaluation questions well (e.g., extensive missing data)
- Keep provider apprised of data cleaning/analytic decisions that have implications for findings (e.g., inability to analyze subgroups due to small sample sizes)
- Keep provider apprised of important insights emerging pertaining to program operations and immediate outcomes so they can consider program improvements
- 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.
- The Urban Institute. (2008). Data methods. Washington, DC
- Taylor-Powell, E. & Renner, M. (2003). Analyzing qualitative data. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Extension.
- Hatry, H. & Cowan, J. (2004). Analyzing outcome information: Getting the most from data. Washington, DC: The Urban Institute