Data is classified into two broad categories; Quantitative and Qualitative, based on the techniques employed in the field to gather and analyze data/facts. Researchers need to choose the most suitable methods that can be helpful in collecting relevant and viable data/facts, suiting the monitoring and evaluation of the given project. There is a distinction between quantitative and qualitative methods of data collection and analysis. This is elaborated in the discussion below.
Quantitative techniques in M&E
Crafting for quantitative methods, largely depend on the kind of data we need and the nature of the project under evaluation and monitoring. Evaluators can opt to use secondary data or primary data as per the needs of the project.
Quantitative methods directly measure the status or change of a specific variable, for example, changes in crop yield, kilometers of road built or the amount of money spent on purchasing items. Basically, this methods incline to numerical data whereby the collection involves the formulation of structured questionnaires that form the solid part of getting facts from sampled respondents. Upon getting the questionnaires filled, data is then coded into specified programs and softwares, to attach meaning to every number used, and then the analysis proceeds. In regard to the presentation of the outputs, answers such as; How many? How frequent and how much forms base for the numerical results. The successful completion of a project depends on how fruitful the quantitative methods applied were and the nature of data collected, analyzed and presented. In knowing how the study was conducted, monitoring and process evaluation reveals the quality of the program and techniques used, viability of collected facts, the barriers encountered in the field and whether the set objectives were achieved. All these help in streamlining the intended purpose of the project.
Qualitative Techniques in M&E
As we monitor and evaluate projects, we use many different kinds of qualitative methods, and each of these methods gives us different kinds of data. Based on our evaluation statement or performance monitoring plan, we apply different techniques on particular scenarios to elicit certain kinds of data. We might develop emic or etic perspectives depending on where we get data from.
Qualitative methods gather information by asking people to explain what they observe, do, believe or feel. This is more of textual descriptions rather than numerical values. Qualitative methods can also be called “informal” as they have an open-ended approach to gathering facts. Respondents get subjected to provide views based on how they understand the topic of concern. Sample of questions mostly answered are; “Why do you think this happened?” or “How do you think this will affect you? People’s attitudes/behaviours, beliefs, opinions, experiences and priorities can be known through the kind of facts collected hence, making qualitative methods to be unique in a way. For any project conducted, it is easy to monitor and evaluate the progress based on how both respondents and researchers behave. The qualitative methods mostly used in collecting facts include; Interviews, focus groups, case studies, The KAP (knowledge, attitude and practice) survey and observations. In getting to understand more about data collection and analysis in M&E, enroll at Sirmirt Company for the coming training.