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Data Collection

As you begin to clearly define your problem through your problem statement you will need to collect data to support your ideas. Types of data that may be collected are: historical, geographic, factual, statistical, as well as special studies completed at you local community level.

Data Sources

  • Internal Sources: Information that is internal to your organization
  • External Sources: Information outside your organization
  • Primary Sources: Data that you or your organization collected
  • Secondary Data Sources: Data that others have collected and published

Types of data 

  • Quantitative Data: Numbers, statistics
  • Qualitative Data: Descriptive analysis
  • Anecdotal Evidence: Personal Stories and experiences

Internal Data Sources

  • Primary data examples
  • Waiting lists Cost per client
  • Intake files Number of repeat offenders Attendance records Program drop out rate
  • Arrest Records Training program evaluations
  • Evaluations/efficiency audits DUI statistics Financial records (cost per Client) Youth Arrest Records
  • Administrative records Annual Reports  

External Data Sources

  • Type of data- usually secondary
  • Useful for describing the community and changes
  • Long time series of data is available such as the Census back to 1790
  • Information is usually free and easy to access
  • Data source is usually credible
  • When combined with other sources can paint a comprehensive picture

Federal Sources

State Agencies

  • Department of health- Teen pregnancies, at-risk behavior
  • Department of Education- drop out rates, test scores
  • Department of Community and Economic Development
  • Unemployment rates, business starts, wages

Local Governments, School Districts

  • Tax Base information
  • Infrastructure available costs
  • Arrest rates
  • Local Health systems
  • Local health related statistics
  • Local Community Organizations
  • Chamber of Commerce

source: Denise Schlegel, Schlegel & Associates