Issuu on Google+

A Guide To Using Data and Research for Non-researchers

ABOUT NACCRRA NACCRRA is the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies of more than 850 child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) located in every state and most communities across the United States. CCR&R centers help families, child care providers, and communities find, provide, and plan for affordable, quality child care. Since 1987, NACCRRA has been working to improve the system of early learning for children by: • P  roviding training, resources, and best practices standards to local and state CCR&Rs that support high quality, accountable services; • P  romoting national policies and partnerships that facilitate universal access to quality child care

January 2006

National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies 3101 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 350, Arlington, VA 22201 Phone (703) 341-4100 and Fax (703) 341-4101 www.naccrra.org 62-0131


A GUIDE TO USING DATA AND RESEARCH FOR NONRESEARCHERS

January 2006


NACCRRA’s Guide to Using Data and Research

ABOUT NACCRRA

NACCRRA is the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies of more than 850 child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&Rs) located in every state and most communities across the United States. CCR&R centers help families, child care providers, and communities find, provide, and plan for affordable, quality child care. Since 1987, NACCRRA has been working to improve the system of early learning for children by: ¾

Providing training, resources, and best practices standards to local and state CCR&Rs that support high quality, accountable services;

¾

Promoting national policies and partnerships that facilitate universal access to quality child care.

ii


NACCRRA’s Guide to Using Data and Research

TABLE OF CONTENTS

INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................................... 1 THE GOAL – WHAT DO YOU NEED TO SHOW AND TO WHOM?...................................... 2 THE NUMBERS – SLICING AND DICING ................................................................................ 6 USING DATA – SELECTION, ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION ...................................... 10 APPENDIX A: MARGIN OF ERROR CHART ......................................................................... 16

iii


NACCRRA’s Guide to Using Data and Research

INTRODUCTION Whether you’re trying to secure funding from the government, educate parents on child care, or win a big grant from a foundation, numbers—and the way you present them—count. Even more so in the past few years, funders like the government, corporations and foundations want to know more, quantitatively, about just not the problems within communities, but also what effect your program is having. They’re looking to see how effective your program is through the numbers you provide. What does that mean for you? It means you have to know how to present data in a compelling, concise and effective way. This is especially true, given that most of the people involved in making decisions about funding aren’t math or statistics experts. Maybe you aren’t an expert yourself yet, but there’s no reason to feel intimidated. You might think that you need to be knowledgeable about advanced mathematical and statistical concepts to use data effectively. This is a myth. Some simple, but effective, data analysis can be done with concepts you learned in elementary school – and on a basic calculator. Once you get to the numbers, a common sense approach to explaining the numbers (putting them within the context of the issue) will help any reader, math genius or not. This “Guide to Using Data and Research” is designed to help you, as a nonresearcher/statistician, understand how to select, analyze, present and explain data to help make your case.

1


A Guide to Using Data and Research for Non-Researchers