There is a huge variety of data collection tools that you can use as part of your monitoring and evaluation. The most common ones, which you’ve probably heard of are: 

  • Surveys or questionnaires  

  • Focus groups 

  • Interviews 

  • Observation  

  • Participatory methods e.g. graffiti walls, diaries, art methods 

  • Looking at secondary data (for example data sets online) 

You should only decide which data collection tool you want to use once you’ve worked out what data you’re looking to collect.  

You can make your own tools, or you can choose from ‘off the shelf’ tools which have already been made by someone else.  

‘Off the shelf’ tools are often validated, so that means they have been tested by institutions to make sure that they produce reliable results. The benefit of this is that it gives credibility to your data, however, you aren't supposed to change validated tools so you need to consider whether they are relevant to the group you are working with.   

Check out the resources section on the Community Southwark website for plenty of examples of off the shelf tools and other data collection methods. 

How to choose what data collection to use? NCVO sets out 9 key considerations when choosing your data collection method: 

  1. Depth of information required  

  2. Sensitivity and complexity of the data you’re collecting 

  1. Time and skills required to use the tool 
  1. Ease of collection and analysis 
  1. Credibility of the tool 
  1. Is the collection method appropriate to the service and its values? 
For more information 

Take a look at the resources section on our website or contact [email protected] for further support .

Go back to video series