3. Identify your data

Consider what existing data would assist you in conducting your self-assessment.

Different kinds of data can reveal different things about the same policy, program or project so it is important to use both qualitative and quantitative data and data from different sources. In a school context, this includes both school-level data (i.e. internal surveys or classroom observations) and system-level data (i.e. NAPLAN or the HSC).

Qualitative and quantitative methods both have advantages and limitations, so you should consider which is most appropriate for what it is you are trying to understand.
  • Quantitative data is useful for examining causal impacts (e.g. is my program having the desired impact?) But does not help answer questions such as ‘how?’ and ‘why?’.
  • Qualitative data is very useful for answering detailed questions about how things could be improved, or the reasons why things are working or not working. For more information about the benefits and drawbacks of both types of data visit the Guidelines for using data page.

If you are unsure where to start, visit the sources of evidence page for some suggested data sources.

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