Data collection methods that should speak volumesMonitoring and Evaluation becomes very interesting especially when you have an opportunity to collect data using methods of data collection which have been widely acclaimed. In Monitoring of your various programmes or projects, collecting data is a must because without data or information what information will you be able to communicate to your various stakeholders? There is always need to collect the right kind of data using the right kind of data collection methods. Lets talk about the data collection methods which are easy to use when conducting your Project Monitoring namely 1) Interviews 2) Focus Group Discussions and 3) Observation
Putting your Data Collection Methods to Work1. Interviews; Undertaking interviews is significantly an interesting venture. One thing that can make Project Monitoring a success is if you prepare a well thought out questionnaire that captures both Quantitative and Qualitative data. A detailed understanding will be done concerning both Quantitative and Qualitative data later but for now the point is, When you have an effective questionnaire that captures all the relevant indicators found in your log-frame you wont have problems reporting your findings to various stakeholders. How do you conduct an effective interview that speaks volumes? Well make sure that your interviews are clearly understood by your respondents, also ensure that the interviews are brief so as not to tire your respondent out. But more importantly, your interviews should capture the indicators that your programme wants to see change. Don't ask questions that have completely no relation to your work as a programme or project. In Project Monitoring make sure to actually know what it is you are Monitoring whether its the Outcomes, Outputs, activities or anything else.
2. Observation; Significantly this could be an effective way to collect data. All it requires as a person performing Monitoring and Evaluation is to simply see or view how things are performing in as far as programme or project implementation is concerned. A good observer requires that someone has a good eye to see whether their is actually progress or not. Observation should explain why certain things are working and why others aren't just through seeing what is happening. Good observers make good Monitoring and Evaluation personnel because they don't always need to collect numerical figures to properly understand the programme implementation processes.
3. Focus Group Discussions; Discussions with a group of beneficiaries is totally, totally cool because it not only allows you as a person responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation to interact with your beneficiaries but also gives you a first hand understanding of what their views on certain matters in the project implementation are and what may be the challenges they are facing. Interacting with your beneficiaries gives you first hand information which is very important for a person responsible for Monitoring and Evaluation. So how is it conducted? That's totally easy, all you do is call a group of programme beneficiaries of maybe between 20 - 30 participants and just ask a few questions. Project Monitoring has never been any better.
Project Monitoring that Works for youIf you are Monitoring your Project and then decide which will be the best data collection method to use, Use the one which you are comfortable with and which is appropriate for the Monitoring. For example, if you are doing a quarterly Project Monitoring activity, Observations or Focus Group Discussions can be a good option but ofcourse it doesn't really depend on the frequency but also the context. Sometimes you may have all the necessary data you need to write a report, but as a way of verifying such data you may just wish to conduct an observation or a focus group discussion. However, don't you ever restrict yourself to just one if you intend to enhance your quality of your Monitoring and Evaluation process.
All the Best!!!!