|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Data analysis Risk management|
In order for the evaluators of the RAMS project to understand the overall impact of the project on the lives of the students and teachers, they ought to collect data for analytical purposes. Data collection can be carried out in a number of ways. For instance, interviews can be conducted so that the evaluators get first- hand information from the students, teachers, and school administrators. Other suitable methods for data collection within the context of the school-based program evaluation include questionnaires and surveys as well as observation (Phellas, Bloch, & Seale, 2011).The researchers may encounter some challenges during the process of collecting and analyzing the data.
Selection of Data Sources
Through conducting interviews, the evaluators would be able to acquire first- hand information on an array of issues. Interviews can either be structured, semi-structured, or informal, depending on the targeted group. For instance, the evaluators could use informal interviews to learn more about the experiences of the students during the course of the RAMS project. In an informal setup, children are given the opportunity to express themselves freely. Therefore, they would open up more to the evaluators. Semi-structured interviews present an opportunity for a deeper understanding of the issues at hand (Peters & Halcomb, 2015). The semi-structured interviews would accord the teachers and school administrators the opportunity to present their views in their own terms. Furthermore, the semi-structured interview approach would enable the evaluators to prepare the interview questions way ahead of time.
Questionnaires and Surveys
The responses acquired through questionnaires and surveys can be analyzed using quantitative methods. For purposes of analysis, the responses that are acquired through these methods are assigned numerical values through the Likert scale methods. Like interviews, questionnaires can be structured, semi-structured, or informal. Questionnaires and surveys are cheap methods of collecting information. More so, they give the targeted audience the opportunity to respond to questions on their own. As a result of this, the members of the targeted audience are able to provide answers that are free of bias since they are not directly influenced by other people like in the case of interviews.
Through observation, the evaluators can study the dynamics of the student and teacher groups involved in the RAMS project. Observation provides an opportunity for the evaluators to collect meaningful qualitative and quantitative data. When the evaluators visit the school to check on the class sessions and consultative meetings between teachers and parents, they are able to make some assessments for themselves. Therefore, they are able to understand the technical and oral reports presented to them. They will also be in a better position to develop suitable recommendations for the RAMS project based on the challenges that they witnessed over the course of the project during their scheduled or impromptu visits.
The following questions could help the evaluators garner the information they need in order to assess the relevance and suitability of the RAMS project.
- Did your academic performance improve over the course of the project?
- How did the teachers handle any disciplinary cases?
- How should students be rewarded for exemplary performance?
- What aspects of the RAMS project curriculum did you have issues with?
- Did the students have all the necessary study materials needed over the course of the project?
- How did the school finance some of the activities that were not included in the proposed budget?
- What did the parents have to say about all the consultative meetings that were scheduled over the course of the project?
- As a parent, did you notice any behavioral changes in your child during the course of the project?
- Did the teachers cover the entire syllabus that was created specifically for the RAMS project in time?
- What is the maximum number for students who can be enrolled and assisted effectively through the RAMS project?
Open-ended questions provide a leeway for the interviewees to answer questions based on their own knowledge and understanding. Since the RAMS project was in its pilot stages, the evaluators have to garner as much information as they can from the stakeholders. For instance, the students could be asked to give an evaluation of their teachers in terms of content delivery and disciplinary action. They could also be asked to suggest methods of rewarding the best-performing students. The evaluators ought to find out from the school administrators how the funds that were raised by donors were managed. Furthermore, they ought to know how much resources are required to cater for the needs of all students involved in the program so that they can advocate for the future implementation of the RAMS projects in other schools across the state.
Challenges Encountered during Data Collection
The stakeholders associated with the RAMS project may be drawn from all walks of life. Therefore, evaluators may experience communication difficulties when they interview people who are not very proficient in English. As a result of this, they may not be able to analyze their responses accurately. Therefore, they may end up getting less accurate data than they hoped for.
Duration of Data Collection
Some of the interviews may have to be carried over a short period of time. For instance, the evaluators may only get the chance to interview parents for a couple of minutes before or after the teacher-parent consultative meetings. They may also be unable to issue questionnaires to all parents since some of them may miss out on the weekly consultative meetings.
The evaluators may be required to hire trained research assistants who are able to administer qualitative interviews as well as analyze quantitative data. The evaluators may also have to organize numerous trips to the school so that they are able to interview parents during the consultative meetings. They may also encounter technological issues during the analysis of the data (Pinto, & Howery, 2011). Furthermore, they may have to compensate the research assistants for taking part in the study.
Establishing Effective Communication
In order for the evaluators to collect accurate data from all stakeholders, they ought to establish effective channels of communication. This can be achieved as follows:
- The evaluators may be required to publish the relevant questionnaire and survey materials in languages that are understood by all and sundry (Marshall, & While, 1994). As a result of this, they will be able to communicate with every stakeholder, which will enable them to solicit a wide range of information from them. The credibility of the evaluation exercise will be tarnished if some of the teachers or students are left out due to language barriers.
- The evaluators may need to collect all contact information of the parents through the consent letters issued to the students at the start of the project. This way, they will be able to contact telephone interviews and remind parents to attend the consultative meetings so that they can be interviewed by the trained research assistants.
- The evaluators can create a conducive, responsive environment by treating all stakeholders with respect regardless of their roles in the RAMS project. If the children are responsive towards the interviewers, they would be able to open up to them. If the teachers and school administrators feel that the evaluators are condescending, they may resent them, thereby limiting them from collecting accurate information about the project.
Data collection can be achieved through interviews, questionnaires/surveys, and observation. Once evaluators have collected data, they ought to analyze it so that they can come up with inferences about the RAMS project. The evaluators should also be aware of the challenges that they may face during the data collection and analysis exercise.
Marshall, S. L., & While, A. E. (1994). Interviewing respondents who have English as a second language: challenges encountered and suggestions for other researchers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 19(3), 566-571. Retrieved from (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1365-2648.1994.tb01122.x)
Peters, K., & Halcomb, E. (2015). Interviews in qualitative research. Nurse Researcher (2014+), 22(4), 6. Retrieved from (https://search.proquest.com/openview/ba3075a18bb3bb5131d28a13da33cd0e/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=2042229)
Phellas, C. N., Bloch, A., & Seale, C. (2011). Structured methods: interviews, questionnaires, and observation. Researching society and culture, 3. Retrieved from (https://books.google.co.ke/books?hl=en&lr=&id=uhBCvNlypL4C&oi=fnd&pg=PA181&dq=Structured+methods:+interviews,+questionnaires,+and+observation.+Researching+society+and+culture,+3.&ots=bEWY42hZ3E&sig=CFGuMVs35w40Y-Ze2jHCtOq5New&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=Structured%20methods%3A%20interviews%2C%20questionnaires%2C%20and%20observation.%20Researching%20society%20and%20culture%2C%203.&f=false)
Pinto, D., & Howery, K. (2011). Addressing the challenges encountered during a developmental evaluation: Implications for evaluation practice. The Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 26(1), 39. Retrieved from (https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Cheryl_Anne_Poth/publication/288079615_Addressing_the_challenges_encountered_during_a_developmental_evaluation_Implications_for_evaluation_practice/links/573e514708ae9f741b300bfc/Addressing-the-challenges-encountered-during-a-developmental-evaluation-Implications-for-evaluation-practice.pdf)
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