How will you tally the data?
- Stage 1: Prepare your data for computer entry (most likely into an MS Excel spreadsheet). Coding is the process of converting responses called data into numbers. For computer entry, you need to determine how each response will be coded and develop a coding key for the person who will be entering the data.
- Stage 2: Transfer the coding key to an actual questionnaire so the data input person can tabulate each response for each instrument.
- Stage 3: Number all of the completed instruments from 1 to N.
- Stage 4: Input the data (responses to each item) for each instrument.
- Stage 5: Conduct random checks on accuracy of the data.
- Stage 6: Run your statistics.
For more about setting up data tally sheets in MS Excel, download this University of Wisconsin-Extension tips sheet Using Excel for Analyzing Survey Questionnaires (pdf)
How will you analyze the data—running statistics?
Once you’ve entered your data into MS Excel or other software package, you need to convert those data into something meaningful. Statistics seeks to make order out of collections of diverse data by “crunching” large amounts of information into usable numbers.
- Statistics used to describe data are called descriptive statistics. For most of your survey work, descriptive statistics will suffice.
- Statistics used to see if there is evidence that a relationship is more than just a chance event is called inferential statistics.
Mean (or average) = total responses (or time)/total # of people
SD (standard deviation) = the measure of spread or variability in a distribution (range of scores or responses).
If you plan to investigate relationships or compare groups, you’ll want to use inferential statistics, which is beyond the scope of this website. For more information about data analysis and statistics, talk to a statistician or visit these websites.
The University of Texas-Austin Division of Instructional Innovation and Assessment website is a great source of tips sheets on how to gather an analyze data. For more details, visit them at
Work Plans & Timeline Schematics
The timing of data gathering is an important part of an evaluation plan. To develop a work plan you must consider the timing of your project, the needs of your audience and your research design (experimental, quasi-experimental or non-experimental), which is based on the conclusions you’re trying to make about your project. (For more information about research designs, visit Research Methods). To view sample work plans and timelines, click here.