Collect the right data, so you can analyse and apply the findings to improve the impact of your programme or service.

Collecting data will help you understand if your programme or service is working and how you can make it better. It’s important to choose data collection methods that will provide the most accurate answers to your evaluation questions.

In this section, we clarify what routine data is and how to collect it. We then introduce specific data collection methods – surveys, interviews, focus groups, case studies, creative methods, and observations – and explain how to use them at your charity or social enterprise.

Routine data collection

How can you collect and manage high-quality routine data?


Could surveys help you collect information about a particular group of people?


Could one-to-one interviews enable you to gather more detailed information?

Focus groups

Could facilitated discussions help you explore personal and group feelings in more depth?

Case studies

Could individual cases help you gather in-depth information about your impact?

Creative methods

Could less formal data collection methods help you capture thoughts and feelings?


Could observation help you understand how users engage with your service by seeing it for yourself?

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