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Expected Output

Who Decides which Methods/Tools to Use?

What Methods/Tools Can Be Used?

How to Decide which Methods/Tools to Use?

ACTIVITY 5: Exploring examples of practitioners’methodologies

Additional Guidelines for Selecting Methods for Gender Evaluation

Worksheet 5 Developing your data gathering strategy


Expected Output

  • To produce a detailed strategy for gathering information on and monitoring gender and ICT indicators


Who Decides which Methods/Tools to Use?

Contrary to popular belief, designing methods for gathering data requires professional and technical skills, resources and more. Patton expresses this best in his book, Utilization-Focused Evaluation [242]: The common perception of methods decisions among nonresearchers is that such decisions are primarily technical in nature. Sample size, for example, is determined by mathematical formula. The evaluation methodologist enters the values of certain variables, makes calculations, and out pops the right sample size to achieve the desired level of statistical robustness, significance, power, validity, reliability, generalizability, and so on – all technical terms that dazzle, impress and intimidate practitioners and non-researchers.

Decisions in determining methods or tools to use should not solely rely on technical elements. Other factors come into play when deciding which tools to use to gather information for an evaluation such as practical and resource limitations, and the intended use of the evaluation results. To determine which methods and tools to use, it is important that identified intended users of the evaluation be primary decision-makers since, after all, they have the largest stake in the results of the evaluation exercise.

What Methods/Tools Can Be Used?

Where can we get our data? Charles Lusthaus, Marie-Hélène Adrien, Gary Anderson and Fred Carden in their book Enhancing Organizational Performance: A Toolbox for Self-assessment groups data sources:

“Essentially, data can be collected from two sources: documents and people. Document sources can be internal (financial statements, annual reports, human-resource policy, program planning documents, strategic plans, promotion brochures,evaluation reports) or external(country policies, legislation, media,donors reports). Data can also be obtained through people, either individually or in groups, either directly through conversation or indirectly through questionnaires.”

There is a range of methods, tools and sources of data one can choose from when conducting an evaluation:

  • Records - training attendance records, telecentre’s record or logbook of use, website’s statistics of use or number of times it was accessed, etc.
  • Internal Documents – original project proposals or funding agreements, papers related to the development of the work, reports, correspondences, minutes of meetings, etc.
  • Interviews - with project beneficiaries, network members, project staff, individuals in other agencies, etc.
  • Discussions or Focus groups - with staff,beneficiaries, etc.
  • Surveys and Questionnaires - filled in by various stakeholders.
  • Stories - accounts of stakeholders that reveal their perspectives about the project.

Each type of data gathering tool has its own merits and limitations. It is best to familiarise yourself with the different types of tools before selecting which to use. Storytelling is an example of one method.



Storytelling as a Method/Tool

One of the many gender-sensitive methods that have been designed and used effectively for evaluating various types of projects and initiatives is storytelling. GEM provides guidelines and examples of this method.

The guidelines are divided into three sections. The first section explores some important elements before starting to gather your stories: fairness of representation, consent, barriers and potential situations that may cause harm to the storytellers. The second section gives a brief look at two methods of gathering stories and the last section identifies the types of content GEM is particularly interested in examining.

Elements of Storytelling

  • Choosing a story
  • Storyteller’s point of view
  • Participation of others in the story
  • Barriers and problems
  • Consent

Methods of Gathering Stories

  • Face-to-face interchange
  • Online interchange

Content to be Explored in Stories

  • Context/Background
  • Learning and Change/Transformation
  • Gender Analysis and Gender Planning and ICTs

Read Storytelling as a Method/Tool


EXAMPLE: Storytelling as It Was Done

The storytelling methodology was effectively used by the Multi-purpose Community Telecenter (MCT) in the Philippines in evaluating the effects of the MCT in two rural communities. Read the summary of MCT’s experiences. (Read the complete report in
or in the accompanying CD of this manual.)