Tools and Tips

CLC programs and partnerships are informed by needs and data. Surveys, analysis of demographic and census data, interviews and focus groups are different ways to gather information to make informed assessments of the extent to which a CLC is achieving outcomes.

Surveys can be used to gather data from a large number of people in a short period of time that can be easily quantified and shared with others.

Focus groups are group level interviews that focus on a common experience and enable participants to build on each others' thoughts.  Focus groups can be used to obtain feedback on activities/programs or new ideas.

Focus Groups Tips and Tricks 

• As a facilitator, refrain from actively participating in the discussion; instead, ask questions to help participants elaborate on their answers.

• Pay attention to non-verbals. They can offer you cues for further conversation.

• Be mindful of existing relationships and power differentials when designing your focus group; participants' comfort is key to a good conversation.

Interviews allow you to explore individual experiences and beliefs in depth.

Tips and Tricks for Interviews

• Listen actively and refrain from engaging in conversation.  Instead, focus on helping the interviewee to expand on what they are saying.

• Allow for silence.

• Validate what you are hearing

Capturing Data

• When taking notes by hand, prioritize listening actively to the conversation and try to capture major conversational points rather than word for word statements.

• When using a recorder, it is important to obtain participants’ consent.  It’s not just the ethical thing to do; participants’ comfort is one of the keys to a good conversation.

• When using a recorder, note the recording time of significant conversation points for future reference

Tips for Making Sense Of Your Data

• Read through your notes or listen to your recording.

• Read through your notes or listen to your recording again.  This time, try and identify patterns and themes.

• Take note of any statements that strike you as particularly impactful or 'quote worthy.' You may wish to include them in your evaluation report.

• Name the themes and patterns you've identified (e.g., "partnership","sense of belonging")

• Validate your findings by comparing them to themes and patterns identified from other sources of data.

Sample questions and tips on using different data collection methods are found in the Google Drive. Some examples from the LOVE Project (Leave Out Violence Everywhere) which is a community partner which facilitates photo-voice projects for students in schools across Canada.

Baseline data reports from the Community Health and Social Services Network (CHSSN) provide census data analysis important to having demographic information about different regions in Quebec.