5.2(a) What works for us?


To look at a wide range of ways to collect information and decide the most suitable for the group when evaluating its activities.

You need

Flipchart paper and pens, lots of copies of the blank methods cards from activity sheet 37 (preferably photocopied onto light card) and at least an hour.

What to do

a) Let’s get back to the chicken nuggets. If you were in charge of finding out from a range of people what they thought of chicken nuggets, what creative ways might you come up with? Using your imagination, as a whole group, list onto flipchart every possible way of collecting information that you can think of. Your ideas might include use of the internet and social media, people’s personal stories, diaries, video, photos, art or drama. Make sure some methods measure quantity (numbers) and others quality (feelings).

b) Break into three groups. Divide the list of methods equally. Create and fill in the cards from activity sheet 37 for each method. Or your small group might prefer to first do the work using flipchart, making it easier to see and contribute. If you do this, make sure the information is placed on cards later to put in your toolkit. Here is an example of one of the completed cards.


Information collection method: telephone interview
Advantages Disadvantages
Confidence not having to see the person face-to-face Unable to see the person
Quick Person not expecting our call and may not be sure who we are
Can be very focused Hard to get detail and feelings
When might it be particularly good to use? To get a lot of people. Get specific information without the need for anyone to travel.

(Adapted from Nottingham Social Action Research Project, Fleming and Boeck, 2001)

What do you think?

Share what you have done as a whole group. The discussion might lead you to add in some more ideas on the methods cards. You now have a pack of methods, their strengths and weaknesses and when you think they might be most useful. You will remember that information or proof you gather usually falls into one of three groups, visual, verbal or written. Take a moment to mark each card in the top right hand corner with one of these three categories. It will help you later when wanting to choose a range of methods for your evaluation. Also is the method best at measuring numbers of things or people’s feelings and experiences?

What next?

Make sure each group hands in all the cards. If possible get them typed. An A4 ring folder may be a good way of storing the information you are creating. Put your evaluation charter at the front, followed by the methods cards. Photocopy them and circulate them as a resource pack to group members. Your evaluation toolkit is coming on well. There is more to add from the next activity.


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