Data preparation and analysis in rapid needs assessments

“What is the data analyst to do when he is handed a dataset over whose design and formatting he had little control or none? For the Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) in Geneva, Aldo Benini wrote two technical briefs – “How to approach a dataset – Part 1: Data preparation” and “Part 2: Analysis”.

The target audience are rapid needs assessment teams, who often work under high time pressure. Yet analysts in project monitoring units, evaluators and trainers too may find the tools and process logic useful. Two macro-enabled Excel workbooks (for part 1and part 2) show the train of preparation steps as well as a variety of frequently needed analysis forms.

These notes speak to “one case – one record” data situations, which are typical of most surveys and assessments. For the special challenges that “one case – many records” datasets offer, see an example further down on the same page.”