Today we will look at the second step: how data is collected and managed in the M&E system. This being a very broad step and will therefore come in two parts.
For this step to be successful some activities must be first put into consideration.
- Develop an M&E plan table.
An M&E plan table is a table that builds upon a projects log frame to detail key M&E requirements for each indicator and assumption. It summarizes key indicator information in a single table. The M&E plan can be formatted differently according to the planning requirements for project management. The M&E plan should also be completed during the planning stage of the project as this allows the project team to cross-check the log frame and ensure that the indicators and scope of work are well represented.
- Assess the availability of secondary data.
What is secondary data? Secondary data refers to data that is not directly collected by and/or for the project, but can nevertheless meet the project’s informational needs. Secondary data is important to consider because it can save time and expenses. It can also be used to triangulate data sources and verify primary data and analysis collected directly as part of the project program. However it is important to ensure that secondary data is relevant and reliable.
- Determine the balance of quantitative and qualitative data.
When planning for data collection, it is important to plan for the extent to which quantitative and qualitative data will be used. Quantitative data is often considered more objective and less biased than qualitative data, especially with donors and policy-makers.
- Triangulate data collection sources and methods.
By triangulation we mean, using different sources and methods for data collection. Combining different sources and methods helps to cross-check data and reduce bias to better the data is valid, reliable and complete. The process also tends to be credible if any of the resulting information is questioned. http://www.ifrc.org/Global/Publications/monitoring/IFRC-ME-Guide-8-2011.pdf
This marks the end of part one of planning for data collection and management. Be sure to catch us in the next part as we keep discovering more on what M&E entails.