Step 4: Organise and analyse the data

Using observation and a sampling strategy can allow analysis of patterns and trends, where the sample is large enough.

For example, as part of an evaluation on the effectiveness of a literacy strategy, a pre-test/post-test design could be used. A sample of 20 observations of literacy lessons in Stage 1 and Stage 2 classes in Term 1 (for pre-test data), followed by implementation of a literacy strategy, would be followed by observations (for post-test data) in Term 3. Analysis of data in this design would assess the changes between pre-test and post-test and draw on other data sources to assess the effectiveness of the literacy strategy.

For notes on preparing and analysing quantitative data from observation, see the analysis section in surveys, particularly under the headings of ‘simple descriptive analysis of quantitative data’ and ‘analysing quantitative data more deeply’.

Observational records can contain rich qualitative detail. For notes on thematic analysis of qualitative data, see the analysis section in interviews and focus groups. This includes guidelines for ‘coding’ qualitative data into themes.

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