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Collect governance data

Data collection is a central activity in assessing governance. Two challenges are most significant in collecting governance data: deciding types of data to collect and who should collect them. While these challenges are not new or specific to governance assessments, they can be more difficult when measuring sensitive areas like democracy and human rights. Efforts to measure governance may suffer from problems related to specific interests of clients or constituents of the measuring organizations. Furthermore, lack of relevant objective data has forced many organizations to rely on subjective data, which can be problematic.

In addition to these challenges, good data collection for national governance assessments should consider two other issues:
1.       Collecting data that can be disaggregated. Data collected at national level through household surveys is more easily disaggregated along various lines, such as gender, income, age and region. Indicators that can be disaggregated along these lines help reveal differences between social groups and are crucial for formulating priorities, identifying target groups and designing policies to reduce inequities. If governance data are not sufficiently disaggregated, this may hide important differences between social groups and fail to reveal critical democratic governance deficits.
2.       Integrating national capacity development into data collection activities. Using national researchers as leaders on governance assessments may assist in securing sustainability, ownership and critical cultural and socio-political insights. The long-term and multiple benefits of combining governance assessment exercises with national capacity development often outweigh the short-term benefits of quick assessments by international consultants.