Collecting data

This section offers practical guidance about collecting, organising and analysing data by undertaking: surveys, interviews and focus groups, and observation.

These techniques can be used for other forms of inquiry and research. However, for the purposes of this Evaluation Resource Hub, they are described in the context of evaluation.


  • collect quantitative and qualitative data
  • require careful design in the wording of questions and response options
  • are usually done online or on paper, in a school context
  • allow generalisation to the broader population of interest, if the sampling has been done carefully.

Go to the surveys page for tips on sampling strategies, survey formats, questionnaire design, inviting people to participate and organising and analysing survey data.

Interviews and focus groups

  • collect qualitative data from individuals or small groups (a focus groups is a type of group discussion)
  • require careful attention to the questions, setup and facilitation to ensure participants feel comfortable and relaxed
  • provide large amounts of data, rich in context and stories.

Go to the interviews and focus groups page for tips on setting the scope, designing the questions, facilitation and interviewing skills and organising and analysing the data.


  • collects quantitative and qualitative data
  • requires careful attention to the questions to be answered and the particular behaviours or attributes of interest
  • can be a less obtrusive way to collect data.

Go to the observation page for tips on setting the scope  and approach, preparing the tools and people, documenting observations and organising and analysing the data.

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