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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    Thank you. Snaps to this:

    "There are two main cases when organizations should not seek evidence about impact:
    -When that piece of evidence already exists
    -When generating evidence on impact is simply impossible to do well

    Stated more broadly: We should conduct an impact evaluation only when the evaluation plan will narrow a knowledge gap."

    PERFECT advice for how to approach data collection:

    "Instead of this wasteful data collection, organizations should work to build appropriately-sized data-collection strategies and systems that demonstrate accountability to funders and provide decision makers with timely and actionable operational data.

    For a forthcoming book, called The Goldilocks Problem, we developed a set of principles that all organizations—regardless of their ability to assess impact—can use to build strong systems of data collection. We call these principles the CART—credible, actionable, responsible, and transportable data collection.

    -Credible: Collect only data that accurately reflect what they are intended to measure. At a larger scale, credibility means accurately measuring the impact of a program through rigorous evaluation. At a smaller scale, credible data collection also refers to appropriateness and accuracy of chosen indicators.

    -Actionable: Collect only the data that your organization is going to use. To make data actionable, ask if you can use the information to change the course of action at your organization—if not, do not collect it. Put simply: If all possible findings lead to the same decision, it is a waste of time and money to collect that information.
    Responsible: Match data collection with the systems and resources your organization has to collect it. Think about the resources you have. It is tempting to collect as much information as possible, but if overreaching will compromise the quality of data you collect and your ability to analyze it, the data will not help anyone.

    -Transportable: Apply what you learn to other programs and contexts—either your own program in future years or in other locations, or those of other organizations working on similar problems. For transportability, you need to know something about why a program works, and be open and transparent about sharing learning with others."