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Selecting from different types of data

One of the most critical challenges when considering governance data is choosing from possible data sources. The governance indicator determines the kind of data needed, and in many cases this will involve a choice from alternative sources and may require combining different kinds of data. Depending on the objective and constraints of a given measurement exercise, it will be most appropriate to resort to one method or another; almost always, the use of several complementary methods is best when time and budget are not inhibiting factors.  Whenever possible, it makes sense to use data that already exist, given that the cost of collecting and analyzing existing data is usually far less than collecting data from scratch.

Important considerations in choosing from different data and data collection methods include:  
  • Target and focus of the study (general population or sub-groups)
  • Coverage of the exercise (entire national territory or specific areas only)
  • Type of data desired (objective versus subjective, qualitative versus quantitative)
  • Need for disaggregated data to pinpoint specific remedial actions and to highlight different experiences of social groups
  • Mode of data collection (face-to-face interview, desk study)
  • Cost and budget
  • Amount of time needed to collect data