The cycle of good impact practice: Decide what data to collect

What data do you need, and how are you going to collect it?

Having identified your goals and reviewed your existing data, it’s time to consider further information that will help you evaluate your programme or service. It’s important to prioritise what you want to find out, so you can decide what data you need to collect, and how to go about it.

We recommend carrying out the below worksheet with your team, drawing on your answers to questions in the previous planning sections of the cycle of good impact practice. It will help you to discuss and agree the most important research questions, for you and your team, and the information you need to answer them. You may also find it helpful to use this document to think about the five types of data and what they can tell you about your work.

How to create a data collection plan

Building on your review of existing data, and your newly agreed data priorities, our data collection plan template helps you identify what data you’re actually going to collect, and how to go about it. It is based on our five types of data framework. You may also find it useful at this stage to complete our data diagnostic and to view our evidence and outcome resources, focused on common groups of service users, which provide example measurement frameworks and tools.

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Plan

The cycle of good impact practice defines what impact practice is and articulates a clear path to success. It follows a four-step cycle. This page is part of Plan, the first step in the cycle.

Other resources from this step in the cycle

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This webpage has been adapted from the Inspiring Impact programme, which ran from 2011 until early 2022 and supported voluntary organisations to improve their impact practice. More information about the Inspiring Impact programme.

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