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									           GOT DATA?
Step-by-Step Guide to Making Data
          Work for You

      Center for Applied Research Solutions, Inc
 771 Oak Avenue Parkway, Suite 3 Folsom, CA 95630
      (916) 983-9506 TEL (916) 983-5738 FAX
                 GOT DATA?
      Step-by-Step Guide to Making Data
                Work for You

                               Kerrilyn Scott
                              Christina Borbely
 Produced and Conducted by the Center for Applied Research Solutions, Inc. for the California
                         Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs

                SDFSC Workshop-by-Request
                      May 16, 2005

                               Authored by Christina J. Borbely, Ph.D.
              Safe and Drug Free Schools and Communities Technical Assistance Project
    Preparing to Use Data
      – Database options & structure
      – Identifying data
      – Coding & Entering
      – Storing & Cleaning
    Methods for Summarizing Data
      – Basics: frequency & % change
      – Beyond Basics: mean scores; making comparisons
    Interpreting Data
    Effective Report Writing
    Utilizing & Disseminating Findings
      – Program improvement, Funders, Key Stakeholders
Ready, Set, Go!
Preparing to Use Data

   Database Options
   Identifying Data
   Coding Data
   Entering, Storing, & Cleaning Data
Database Options

   Microsoft Excel
   Microsoft Access
   SPSS

   Spreadsheet format
   Some computational functions
   Compatible with other MS software & statistical
   Comes with Microsoft Office package (or $299)
   User friendly design
   Requires some preparation prior to data entry
   Generates custom reports
   Good for qualitative (i.e. open-ended items) & quantitative
   Compatible with other Microsoft software &
    statistical software (i.e. converts easily to Excel!)
   Comes with Microsoft Office package (or $299)

   Spreadsheet format
   Requires some tutorial (not always intuitive)
   One-touch data analysis!
   Pricing ranges from $599 to $1499
Watcha Got?

   Identifying data
   Variable names
Identifying Data
   Each piece of information you have for a
    participant or a program is data.

                      Data are…
               # of completed surveys data
          # of times a youth attended a session
            # of youth who attended a meeting
          # of merchants contacted for outreach
Types of Data

   Discrete, categorical
            US Citizen/Non US Citizen
       Freshman, Sophmore, Junior, Senior

   Continuous
            Conflict Resolution Ability
Variable Names

   Each piece of data is labeled with a unique
    (and hopefully meaningful) variable name.

Data                         Variable Name
Section E, item 3            E3
Age                          Age
Unit 1 total score           Un1tot
Variable Names:
Do’s & Don’ts

                      Meaningful
 For section E, item 6: E6               Variable124a

                          Short
 DOB              Date of Birth
 E6         Youth Survey Section E, Item #6

                      Systematic
 E6, E7, E9, F1, F2                1F, twoF, Fthree
 Plan to reference data collection time points
First administration:
BL (for baseline) or T1 (for time 1) or PRE (for pre-test)

        BLE6, FUE6                        E6, E6

   Be consistent with the chosen system
       T1E6, T2E6            E6T1, T2E6
Coding Key: Do’s
   Translate into numeric values
         For response scale: YES! Yes No NO!

                      YES! = 3
                      Yes = 2
                      No = 1
                      NO! = 0

   Record coding key directly onto measure &
Coding System Examples

 Black = 1         Gender
 Hispanic = 2      Male = 1
 White = 3
                  Female = 2
 Asian = 4
 Other = 5
Coding Key: Don’ts

   Do not create a separate variable to code
    each response to an item.

      1. What grade are you in? A. 6th B. 7th C. 8th
Variable name = BL1
Codes A=1; B=2; C=3

Variable name = BL1A; BL1B; BL1C
Codes Yes=1; No=0
Advanced Coding

•Collapsing Variables by Code
       1. Do you live in a house? Y/N
       2. Do you live in an apartment? Y/N
       3. Do you live in a barn? Y/N

Variable Name: “Reside”
Codes: house       =1
      apartment = 2
      barn         =3
Reverse  Coding
The values of the coding system may need to be
reversed to reflect the true meaning of the
1. Do you runaway from home? Often Sometimes Rarely Never
2. Do your parents smile at you? Often Sometimes Rarely Never
3. Are you happy at home?        Often Sometimes Rarely Never

Variable codes:                 4       3        2       1
Reverse code:                   1       2        3       4
Entering Data in Your Database
   Create 1 row of variable names: Across

   Create 1 column of names/id #s: Down

   Enter post test & follow-ups by extending the row for
    each participant

ID        BLgrade     BLa23         T2grade    T2a23
0025          6       2.5           7           3.1

   Save regularly as you enter (don’t lose all that work!)
Storing Data

   Hardcopies
   Electronic files
Under Lock n’ Key

   Guard with your life until a back up is made

   Keep all hardcopies as backup

   Maintain back ups in different locations

   Preserve confidentiality
          Separate identifying information from surveys
          Use passwords; locked file cabinets; secured offices
Cleaning Data:
Quick, Easy, & Worth It!

Save yourself the grief of inexplicable scores…

        Data should fall within an expected range
                      (e.g. 1 to 5).

               Scan data for unusual numbers by:
   Visual review
   A “sort by” function
   A “find” function
   A “minimum/maximum” or “range” function
    Squeaky Clean!

   Use a “missing” marker (e.g. 999) when a
    response is purposely missing (e.g. left blank,

Pros: easy to spot unintentionally unentered data
Cons: extra step to remove missing marker later

   Don’t forget to exclude “missing” data values,
    so it doesn’t mess up your computations!
 How to use “missing” markers

1.   Select number or symbol that will not naturally
     occur in the data
2.   Enter marker when data point is unavailable
3.   Clean data & look for “blanks”. Fill in un-entered
     or incomplete data.
4.   After data is clean, delete or exclude the missing
5.   Do data analysis

   Consider using “in house” resources for
    entering & cleaning data

   Consider outsourcing database development to
    a graduate student or local evaluator

   An outlier is a data point that
    does not cluster with other
    data points in the group.

   Example: ages range from
    12.1 to 14.3 years; there are 3
    outliers age 17.4; 19.2; and
    19.7 years.

   It may skew data so that it is
    not representative of the

   Consider excluding outliers
Housekeeping Activity:
Clean the Data
Guide: Step 1

   Set up a database
   Code and enter data
   Clean database         Kids
    Putting Data to Work
Methods for Summarizing Data

             Taking   It Up a Notch
Add It Up

   Count or Tally
       Do you attend Club Live? Yes             No
                                        ID       T21a
               Yes         No   Blank   jn789    1
By hand llll          ll        l       rs587    0
                                        ty390    1
                                        ge188    1
                     By computer
                                        bo989    0
            Yes=1; No=0; Blank=999      va689    999
                                        pc490    1
                                        sz688    1
 Ratio & Percent Distribution
Quantifies rate of occurrence for categories of information
                 Useful for….
   What race are you?
    Black                Do you live with both
    White
                          biological parents?
    Asian                        Yes     No
    Hispanic
    Other     NOT As Useful for….
How much you like school? (circle one)
                                         How old are you? _____
    YES! Yes No NO!
    Calculating Frequency

   Sum the number of times a given response occurs

   Report a number: a ratio or percentage
    Gender       # of participants        % of participants
    Male                  49                      49%
    Female                51                      51%
    Total                 100                     100%

   Of the 100 participants, 49 were male.
   This year, almost half (51%) of the participants were females.
  Common uses

 Demographics     to characterize participants or community
               Race; gender; grade; homeowner status

 Statistics   to describe program
                    Number of program completers
                 % of city council members contacted

 Impact   statements on outcomes
                  % of youth reporting ATOD use
               Ratio of signage below adult eye-level
Reporting Frequencies
Frequency of participants reporting they are:
          Getting mostly B’s in math
            Parents of a FNL youth
Frequency with which:
          Decoy buys are successful
       Alcohol-sponsored events occur
Excerpt of Frequency in Text

“Of clients with completed CBCL/YSR, well over half (56.9%)
function in the lowest quartile of global competence. Specifically,
clients demonstrate compromised ability related to engagement in
age-appropriate activities, social interaction, and performance at
school. Given that services are provided in the school context, it is
not surprising that almost three-quarters of the clients (71.2%)
function in the bottom quartile of school-related competence.
Teachers and other school staff, individuals familiar with indicators of
school competence, are the most common referral source of
students. It is expected that competence in these domains will
benefit from student participation in counseling services. Additional
data is being collected to test for improvement over time.”
    Change Score

   Comparison of scores to assess change
Proposed outcome:
    80% of youth increased awareness of ATOD consequences
    ID      T1consq T2consq Change Increase
    jn789   3.4     3.4     0       No        5 of 7 youth
    rs587   2.1     3.6     +1.5    Yes       increased scores
    ty390   2.5     3.4     +.9     Yes       = 71.4% of youth
    ge188   3.0     3.5     +.5     Yes
                                              awareness of
    bo989   4.3     4.5     +.2     Yes       ATOD
    va689   999     2.9     999     N/A       consequences
    pc490   3.2     2.9     -.3     No
    sz688   1.6     2.5     +.9     Yes
Taking It Up a Notch

   Mean scores
   And beyond…
Mean Scores
   The mean refers to a variables central tendency and is
    the sum of all a factors values divided by the number
    of values.

  “Mean” and “average”
refer to the same concept.
Calculating Means

   Sum all the response values, then divide by the
    total number (of responses or items)

   Provide a frame of reference (“out of how
ID             Age                 ItemE7        RskFctrs
aj785          20                  4             3

tk983          22                  3             0

mr286          19                  5             2
               61/3 = 20.3         12/3 = 4      5/3 = 1.6

   The mean age of the participants is 20.3 years.
   The average score on Item E7 is 4 out of 5.
   Youth have an average of 1.6 risk factors out of a
    possible 4 risk factors.
Common Uses
   To make a generalized statement about a group.

   Demographics to characterize participants or
                Age; Income level

   Impact statements on outcomes
           Level of ATOD use among youth
                   Sub-scale scores
      Reporting Mean Scores

   Report means of sub-scales
     Average score for “Community Connection” scale

   Report mean scores of an individual item
     Item E4: How often did you smoke pot in the past 7

   Report mean score of occurrence
    Average number of hours spent educating merchants
Excerpt of Mean Score in Text
“Of the districts completing Year 1 Superintendent
Surveys, the majority indicated that counseling services
were of a resource of high value. On a five-point scale
with 5 being the highest value, the average value
assigned to the Project X counseling services was 3.67.
In addition, all districts indicated that parents, teachers,
administrators, and school psychologists were largely
receptive to and supportive of the resource. The majority
of responding superintendents indicate that districts
would benefit from expanding counseling services and
improving the physical space allotted for service delivery.
Clearly, Year 1 has culminated in substantiated need and
the resolve to prioritize addressing the need. “
Analysis Activity:
Finding Findings
         Calculating Subscale Means
     For each case, sum the values for all items in the
        subscale and divide by that number of items.
    Then calculate the overall mean of each participant’s
                         mean score.
Subscale: Attitudes Towards Violence
Items included: A8, A9, B4, E7, F2, F3 (6 items)
ID  A8       A9     B4    F2 F3 Sum Mean
N7H 2        3      5     3
                          1    3     17 2.83
K2F 1        2      2     4
                          1    1     11 1.83
                          Overall mean: 4.66/2
Attitudes Toward Violence mean = 2.33 out of 5.
Other Measures of Central Tendency

The most frequently occurring value in a set of
The modal response for the smoking subscale was 2.0 out of 5.0. This
indicates that while youth may have tried smoking, most do not smoke
on a regular basis.
It is the value that is the mid-point in a set of values
where half the values are smaller & half are larger.
The median cost of a home in the area is $350,000, well above the
average family income for participating parents.
  Apples to Apples?
  Comparing Frequencies & Means

    Means to Means and Frequencies to Frequencies
                               Over time
Pre- to Post-Test Scores
Incidence statistics the year before to the year after the program
                          Across groups
Program participants to control/comparison group
Merchants with low program participation to those with high program
    Frequencies & Means:
    Method of Comparison

   Eyeballing differences      Testing differences

   Anyone can do it            Requires a simple statistical
   Limits interpretation        test
                                Determines whether the
                                 difference is meaningful
                                Allows definitive statement
                                 about comparison

   Consider using an evaluator or identifying a
    consultant (like a local graduate student) to do
    statistical tests or analyses.
Activity: Compare Scores
And beyond…

   Normal distribution
   Standard deviation
   Statistical significance
Normal Distribution
   Normal distribution refers to a group of data points that occur
    symmetrically and with a bell-shaped density and one peak.

                                      Balasubramanian Narasimhan , Stanford University, July 22, 1996
      Standard Deviation

   Standard deviation is a
    standardized score to indicate
    where a finding falls on the
    normal distribution.

   Often means are reported
    with a standard deviation (SD).
    For example, mean = 3.4 (.17).

   Rule of thumb: SD between 0
    and 2 are fine. Outside of this,
    finding may be skewed.
Statistical Significance

   “Statistical significance” refers to the probability
    that the outcome of data analysis indicates an
    effect when there isn’t one.
   When comparing means or frequencies (or
    other analysis outcomes), a test statistic is
    used to determine if there is a meaningful
   If a finding is “significant”, the outcome is
    considered true (with 95% certainty)
Guide: Step 2

Compute frequencies & means to describe
 program, participants, and outcomes
Compare findings
Making Meaning
Interpreting Data
        Bite your tongue
        Sound bytes
Bite your tongue

Do say                       Don’t say
Is associated with…          Is caused by…
This suggests…               Is the result of…
May indicate…                Due to…
Appears to…                  Because of…
                             Significantly differed…
*note specific limitations      (unless tested)
  (e.g. “no baseline”)
    Sound Bites

   Put favorable findings in short, sweet
                       Statement to press:
Participation in FNL is associated with increases in self-
                 Presentation to key stakeholders:
Merchants with Responsible Merchant education are less
  likely to sell alcohol to children in our community.

   Group your data to maximize findings (e.g.
    cut a 4 point scale into high/low scores)

   “No change” is “maintenance”

   Couch unanticipated or lack of findings in
    reasonable explanation or plans
Excerpt of “Spin”
“While scores from the Youth Survey’s ATOD use subscale indicate
   that participants increased their substance use over time (mean
   use at baseline = 3.2 out of 5; post-test = 4.0), this should be
   considered in context. Specifically, research reports a
   developmental (i.e. maturational) effect on adolescent use rates.
   When participant use rates were compared to rates reported for
   the same age group in Sutter County’s California Healthy Kids
   Survey, our youth were faring better…..
In addition, as noted in the previous section, youth attitudes towards
   substance use showed improvement over time. Within the
   literature, change in attitude is widely regarded as the first step in
   impacting behavior…”
Try Your Hand Activity:
Translating Findings in Text
Guide: Step 3

   Find your findings
   Select key findings
   Strategically frame findings
   Read All About It!
Effective Report Writing
            Know   Your Audience
            Show Your Work
            If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It
            A Picture Speaks a
            Thousand Words
Know Your Audience

   Consider Who You Are Dealing With….

What do they care about?
How much time do they have?
What level of detail is ideal?
What do you expect to accomplish by sharing
 information with them?
Show Your Work

   Don’t just report findings, report how you found
              Specify: measure development
                         administration details
Excerpt of Evaluation Methodology

“The evaluation components for the fifth year consisted of the
   following elements: Protégé Pre- and Post Surveys (Outcome),
   Participant Satisfaction Surveys (for both Mentors and Proteges),
   Program Advisor Surveys, County Coordinator Phone Interviews,
   and Site Visits (Primarily focusing on interviewing the youth
   participants). In addition, Monthly Reports and Mentoring Session
   Activity Logs were collected and analyzed. The following provides a
   more detailed description of each component and the sample size.
Protégé Pre- and Post-Surveys: These instruments are intended to
   measure the impact of FNLM on the Proteges. The survey measures
   constructs such as school attachment, decision making and goal
   setting, conflict resolution, refusal skills, and ATOD harm
   perceptions and use. The survey took approximately 30 minutes to
   complete and primarily consisted of likert scale rating items. A sub-
   sample of seven counties were administered the outcome survey
   and a total of 71 matched pre/post surveys were used for the data
   analysis” (FNL Year 5 Evaluation Report, 2003)
   Describe program or evaluation “lessons
    learned” to account for modifications
Sample: Excerpt of Limitations
“Over the course of the four years, tracking program attendance has posed a
   major challenge. During the first two years of the program, valid
   attendance rates were not available due to hand-written attendance logs
   and a lack of documentation of program drop-outs. While the attendance
   data has improved dramatically over the course of the program, for the
   previous year tracking individual attendance rates was still not feasible.
   However, appropriate and consistent documentation of the number of
   mentors and protégés attending the mentoring sessions did allow for
   reporting average attendance levels by school site for mentors and
   protégés for each county; this method will be continued this year and will
   further benefit from the addition of an attendance summary sheet.” (FNL
    Year 5 Evaluation Report, 2003)
    If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It

   Insert statistics to describe the program, staff,
    and participants

   Report overall outcome findings & include
    notable specifics

“At program end, fewer youth showed favorable attitudes
  toward alcohol use (17% versus 25%), especially girls
  (13% versus 29%).”
                   A picture speaks a thousand words

                    Use graphs & charts to illustrate findings
FNL survey relationship building mean scores (N = 204 youth)                                                    Community ATOD indicators per 1,000 population

                                                                                                                                                                 ATOD related
positive peer                                                                                                    25
connections                                       Percentage of Participants at Risk (N = 100)                                                                   discharges
bonding with                          5
                                                                 5%                                              20                                              DUI arrests
adult staff                           4.5
                                      4                                                                Low
                                      3.5                                                        35%

                                      2.5                                                                          5
                                                                                                                       2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
        Pre Test        Post Test
    When To Use What Graphic

   Line Graph: use to display values (data points)
                                               ATOD related
    over time  25
                                               DUI arrests

               15                              Community ATOD indicators per 1,000 population



                    2000 2001 2002 2003 2004

   Bar Chart: use to display a distribution of values

    across categories                 45
                                      30                                         Mostly Bs & As
                                      25                                         Mostly Cs
                                      20                                         Mostly Ds & Fs
   Grouped Bar Chart: use to display a distribution of
    values across categories for two+ variables
      positive peer
                                   Pie Chart: use to
      bonding with                  display the distribution
      adult staff
                                    of cases across


                                    categories.   3.5

                                    Wedge=number or


                                    percentage.   2
                                                                                                                    5%         High
                  Pre Test         Post Test

FNL survey relationship building mean scores (N = 204 youth)

                                                               Percentage of Participants at Risk (N = 100)
    Creating Figures

   Automated “chart” function in MS Word (2003),
    Excel, & Powerpoint
   Label everything
   Give each figure an informative title
“Mean survey scores of 10th grade Youth Coalition members at Oak Ridge
  High School”
   Give context of data (e.g. “per 1000 population”)
   Indicate the population size (e.g. “112
 Writing About Graphics

Do highlight key findings displayed in figure
Don’t reiterate in text every detail of the figure

Sample: Excerpt of Text for Figure
“Retention Rates: The attrition rates continue to show a slight decrease this
   year. A total of Fifty-two mentors (10%) and thirty-eight protégés (9%) were
   reported to drop-out of the program. In the previous year, attrition rates of
   13% were seen for both the mentors (n=147) and proteges (n=141).         The
   average number of protégés that dropped from all school sites was higher
   than for the mentors.                      5.0

                                                    Average Number of Protege Drops Per Site

                                                                                                            Average Number of Mentor Drops Per Site

(FNL Year 5 Evaluation Report, 2003)          4.0



                                              3.0                                                     3.0

                                              2.5                                                     2.5

                                              2.0                                                     2.0
                                                                       2.0        2.0                                                     2.0

                                              1.5                                                     1.5


                                              1.0                                                     1.0           1.2
                                                           PDPDS1     PDPDS2     PDPDS3                           MDPCHGS1   MDPCHGS2   MDPCHGS3
Writing Tips

Say it in numbers
                The letter-writing campaign was successful.
         The letter-writing campaign resulted in communication
                    with 67 local government officials.

Say ONE thing at a time
    More than half of the original participants completed the program and
                relationships with parents improved over time.
 More than half (57%) of the original participants completed the program.
         These young people demonstrated a 12% improvement in
                    relationships with parents over time.
      Writing Tips

   Be precise (not vague)

                    Program participants included high risk youth.
    Over one-third (36%) of program participants met at least one of three risk
            factors, including school expulsion/drop out, juvenile arrest
                           record, or free-lunch status.
   Connect proposed outcomes to performance
    measures to findings.

     A primary goal of the program was to reduce accessibility of tobacco to
        minors. Decoy buy assessments and focus groups with merchants
         involved in the merchant education program indicate that tobacco
             accessibility is more stringent now compared to at Year 1.
Writing Tips
   Add interpretation or explanation to

Results from the Youth Survey indicate that teens showed healthier attitudes
          toward drug use, but increased drug use behavior over time.

    Results from the Youth Survey indicate that teens showed healthier
    attitudes toward drug use, but increased drug use behavior over time.
         It may be that the program is most effective in impacting youth
     attitudes, not behaviors related to drug use. Research suggests that
         appropriate attitudes is a first step towards changing behavior.
Writing Tips

 Use qualitative data to add depth to
 quantitative data.

 Program records indicate that after a mid-year dip in attendance rates,
 regular participation exceeded expectations.

 Program records indicate that after a mid-year dip in attendance rates,
 regular participation exceeded expectations. A focus group conducted
 with program staff at the end of the school year revealed that a gang
 violence incident on campus resulted in the temporary suspension of
 all after school activity programs. This corresponds with the dip in our
 program’s attendance rates.
Try Your Hand Activity: Writing Up Findings
Guide: Step 4

   Describe how evaluation was conducted
   Include general and detailed findings
   Consider using graphics
          Spread the Word
Utilizing & Disseminating Findings

   Develop a 1 page summary to:
    –    describe program
    –    key impacts
    –   recommendations or next steps
Excerpt of One Page Summary
Program Improvement

   Identify strengths and weaknesses
   Use findings to inform strategic planning
   Regularly report impact to project staff to for
    morale boosting sessions
   Highlight modifications made based on
    lessons learned
Excerpt of Strengths & Weaknesses
                                    Recruiting and Screening
               Strengths                                                               Challenges

   •Very smooth getting at-risk youth – returning            •There were a lot more discipline problems such as
   protégés already fit the profile                          lack of interest and lack of involvement.
   •There were no problems recruiting at-risk youth,         •There appears to be a stigma at this site about
   because we were working with that population              staying on campus after school hours
   anyways.                                                  •The screening process made finding these
   •The at-risk group is attracted to FNL anyway, we         individuals more difficult because there are few
   had a wonderful group. It was trying at times, but        students at the school who fit the criteria of a
   they were paired with mentors that matched them           committed, good student who is not involved in
   so well – I saw some great moments.                       conflicting extra-curricular activities
Reporting to Funders

   Use the specified format
   Address the original grant initiatives as focal
   Use language that links back to original
   Highlight lessons learned
   Review sustainability
Sharing with Key Stakeholders

   Be concise
   Use very basic statistics & graphics
   Make information accessible to broad audience
   Use exciting/interesting format
   Acknowledge contributions
   Highlight steps toward the future

   For Policy-makers:
      make specific recommendations
Get the News Out

   Newsletter
   Press Release
   Newspaper Articles
   Local Television Station
   Organized meetings (program staff; city
    council; school board; PTA)
Guide: Step 5

   Audience-specific format
Ask the Wizard

             You now know how to:

      Set up, code, enter, and clean data
          Translate data into findings
    Add context and interpretation to findings
        Disseminate evaluation findings
The End.

           (woo hoo!)

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