The type of data collected depends on the question to be answered and the available resources. As discussed in Module 4 (click here to review this module), there are two types of data: qualitative and quantitative. Both types of data have strengths and limitations and may be appropriate for different settings, evaluation designs, and evaluation questions.
Qualitative data consist of words and narratives. The analysis of qualitative data can come in many forms including highlighting key words, extracting themes, and elaborating on concepts. Quantitative data are made of numerical information, the analysis of which involves statistical techniques. The type of data collected guides the analysis process.
One example of qualitative data would be a focus group with parents participating in an education program conducted to understand participant perceptions. In this case, the data collected were probably narrative in form, so qualitative techniques would be necessary to analyze the transcripts for content and themes relevant to the program.
An example of quantitative data would be a satisfaction survey asking participants to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5. In this case, the data would be numeric in form, and statistical techniques would be necessary to draw conclusions about participant satisfaction.
The analysis of qualitative data is beyond the scope of this module. For a detailed explanation of one process, see this link.