Our Art is the Data Collection

02 04-2016
Our Art is the Data Collection
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes.
In retail sales, for example, data might be collected from mobile apps, website visits, loyalty card programs and online surveys in order to to learn more about customers and consumers in general. In a server consolidation project, data collection would include not just a physical inventory of all servers but also an exact description of what is installed on each server — the operating system, middleware, and the application or database that the server supports.
There are two kinds of variables in research.  An independent variable (the intervention) is a condition implemented by the researcher or community to see if it will create change and improvement. This could be a program, method, system, or other action.  A dependent variable is what may change as a result of the independent variable or intervention.  A dependent variable could be a behavior, outcome, or other condition.
The timing of analysis can be looked at in at least two ways: One is that it’s best to analyze your information when you’ve collected all of it, so you can look at it as a whole. The other is that if you analyze it as you go along, you’ll be able to adjust your thinking about what information you actually need, and to adjust your program to respond to the information you’re getting. Which of these approaches you take depends on your research purposes.  If you’re more concerned with a summative evaluation – finding out whether your approach was effective, you might be more inclined toward the first.  If you’re oriented toward improvement – a formative evaluation – we recommend gathering information along the way. Both approaches are legitimate, but ongoing data collection and review can particularly lead to improvements in your work.
Once you’ve organized your results and run them through whatever statistical or other analysis you’ve planned for, it’s time to figure out what they mean for your evaluation. Probably the most common question that evaluation research is directed toward is whether the program being evaluated works or makes a difference. In research terms, that often translates to “What were the effects of the independent variable (the program, intervention, etc.) on the dependent variable(s) (the behavior, conditions, or other factors it was meant to change)?”  There are a number of possible answers to this question.
Click Prompt Team

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