Want to learn from all the data you are collecting? Here are some tips on how you can organize and analyze data to inform your project.
The following items are meant to provide a basic foundation for analysis in the absence of other analytic tools that may be available. Many SMS platforms in particular provide robust analytic utilities (SMS Guide PDF ↓), but if you are not using such a platform or if you want to do a baseline analysis on participant contributions such as audio or in-person interviews, you may find these suggestions useful.
These are columns or items you can add to your original template to support your data analysis process:
- Completed responses —This figure specifies how many times participants answered each of the questions within a given post (only applicable to posts that contain more than one question).
- Completed responses to participants’ ratio — divide the number of completed responses by the number of unique participants to get a ratio that illustrates what percentage of participants took the time to answer each of the questions you posed within a given post.
- Average number of responses per participant — This figure shows how many times participants are responding to posts with multiple questions. Ideally this figure should be compared with the number of questions within the post to gauge the level of participation.
- Quits — this figure simply shows how many respondents indicated that they are no longer interested in participating in the project or initiative. Posts that contain a high number of quits should be closely analyzed to determine what could have been done differently. Note that certain topics (such as children/education) may not appeal to all respondents. Quits apply in particular to SMS engagement as it is unlikely that someone being interviewed or contributing audio or social media information would quit during the process of relaying feedback. However, should that occur, it’s important to ask the participant why they are declining to participate further so that you can gather information regarding how better to engage your community in the future
- Level of engagement — this can be somewhat subjective, but can give you a good idea of which posts are generating the most engagement. Read the responses and other inputs that you’ve collected to gather a loose impression of just how often participants are contributing valuable feedback. Those posts that are deemed to have high engagement (as opposed to medium or low), should be further scrutinized in an effort to determine what exactly resonated with the participants. It can be the question type, the topic or other variables that should be noted and remembered for follow-up questions or lessons learned as they pertain to other posts.
- Notes — It’s a good idea to jot down some thoughts or takeaways from posts while they’re still fresh in your head. As posts accumulate, it’s easy to lose track of which posts really worked as well as details regarding the participant responses. You might consider adding information regarding individual contributions for follow up or news stories that might be created down the road.