Collecting ‘Good’ Information
We have now explored many alternative ways of collecting evidence. These will allow us to gain insight into where your program is on your peer support venture. Remember, we are using the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a way of structuring our compass for this journey. The four perspectives enable us to think about various dimensions of success, all focussed on our vision, which is our destination ahead. As we previously identified key objectives within each perspective, we were selecting the most important dimensions of our peer program performance. Nevertheless, for our compass to be effective, we need to gather information on every objective, so that we know where exactly we are.
We have now gained an assortment of ‘tools’, which we can use for gathering this information. Our toolbox now includes: existing documentation, observations, interviews, surveys and a vast array of creative methods for possible use. The question now becomes, how do we choose the most appropriate method(s) to collect our evidence? Naturally, ethical considerations will influence our selections. However, our focus remains on ensuring we capture the best information we can, within our limited resources. What do we mean by ‘best information’ and what should be considered ‘good’ information?
Good information is that which is used and which creates value. Experience and research shows that good information has numerous qualities. Good information is relevant for its purpose, sufficiently accurate for its purpose, complete enough for the problem, reliable and targeted to the right person.
- Johnstone High School, Using Information, Characteristics of Information
Johnstone High School, Using Information, Characteristics of Information: http://www.jhigh.co.uk/Intermediate2/Using%20Information/12_charact_of_info.html
When deciding upon our information-gathering plan, we therefore want our information to be:
- Sufficiently accurate;
- As complete as possible;
- Provided (or collected) in a timely manner; and,
- Available to the right person.
Being concise is an important consideration in the peer space, as we could easily find ourselves with too much information and lacking the resources to collate/manage it. We need to continually ask ourselves whether the information we are planning to collect will adequately answer our questions. You need to ask different questions, at each stage of your information gathering process.