There are lots of tools available to help you log and manage information.
If you are gathering and processing information about people there are ethical and legal issues you should be aware of. We now have more ways to collect, store, share, transmit, analyse and publish data than ever before. Responsible Data Management is about treating data with respect, and upholding the rights of people whose data we hold. Responsible Data Management focuses on treating people’s information with respect and dignity, and ensuring that we always act in their best interests.
3 Helpful Resources on Responsible Data Use
1. Responsible Data Management.
Training pack from Oxfam for humanitarian organizations on managing programme data according to best practice.
2. Responsible Data Resource List
This list of resources (formerly known as the “Responsible Data Hackpad) is curated and maintained by MERL Tech and The Engine Room.
3. The Gendersec Curriculum
A resource that introduces a holistic, feminist perspective to privacy and digital security training.
Monitoring and Evaluation
There are many excellent guides and toolkits online which introduce you to Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). While they are all useful, most work on the assumption that you already have a pretty good grasp of M&E.
The 1-2-3 toolkit assumes that you may be starting from scratch or that you really need a refresher. It simplifies the terminology and offers worked examples. Above all, it suggests a three-step approach, the 1-2-3 Method.
The M&E Universe is a free, online resource developed by INTRAC to support development practitioners with monitoring and evaluation (M&E). It’s a series of short papers on relevant topics. It can be accessed through an online platform (intrac.org/universe) that is compatible with most web browsers.
With the challenges of escalating climate change and global pandemics, being able to monitor projects at a distance and effectively manage the opportunities and limitations is essential. This handy guide for civil society highlights how to work with your partners to make it a success.
Tools to help with data collection
KoBoToolbox is a free suite of tools for field data collection for use in challenging environments. The software is free and open-source. Most of its users are people working in humanitarian crises, as well as aid professionals and researchers working in developing countries. It’s free and you can input data offline.
Rukovoditel is a free web-based open-source project management application. Its customization options allow users to create additional entities, modify and specify the relationship between them, and generate the necessary reports. The platform enables users to craft their own application that is specifically tailored for their activity. A free version is available. Add-ons cost extra.
Salesforce is used by charities who have to deal with lots of data from many partners or projects. Salesforce is a customer relationship management solution that brings companies and customers together. It’s one integrated Customer Relationship Management platform that can give everyone in your organisation a single, shared view of every partner. Prices start at £20/month.
Open Data Kit lets you build powerful offline forms to collect the data you need wherever it is. Use either the mobile app or the web app. Forms and submissions are synced when a connection is found. There is a paid-for version which comes with guidance and support. There are also open-source ODK tools available free. The ODK-X community produces free and open-source software for collecting, managing, and using data in resource-constrained environments.
Epicollect5 is a mobile & web application for free and easy data collection. It provides both the web and mobile application for the generation of forms (questionnaires) and freely hosted project websites for data collection. Data are collected (including GPS and media) using multiple devices and all data can be viewed on a central server (via map, tables and charts).
Teamscope is a secure and easy-to-use data collection platform, specially designed for sensitive data and clinical research. Teamscope allows researchers to create powerful mobile forms, collect data both qualitative and quantitative data offline and visualize it with a few clicks. It has affordable plans and effective offline information gathering.
REDCap is a secure electronic data capture (EDC) solution (web, smartphone, tablet and iPad) for building electronic case report forms and managing databases. The app enables data collection in places with slow or no internet. Non-profit organisations can join the REDcap consortium and receive a free license of the software
Magpi is a mobile data recording app that allows users to create mobile forms both on and offline within minutes. Its use extends through the health, agriculture, environment and industry sectors, where rapid and low-cost conduction of mobile surveys enables scalable and straightforward research. It has free basic accounts and allows offline data entry.
Jotforms mobile allows users to collect various types of data, such as voice recordings, barcodes, geolocations and electronic signatures and then build, view, access, sort, fill out, share, and organise all this data in a single place. It has free basic accounts and allows offline data entry.
Publishing to IATI
Many NGOs need to publish aid data in accordance with the IATI standard but, particularly for small organisations, this can be overly-technical and complicated. Fortunately, AidStream lets you sidestep the fiddly XML data by filling out a form instead, which it then converts into the correct code.