Step 6: Conduct data analysis
After all of your data are recorded accurately and consistently, the next step is to actually analyze the data. In the data analysis phase, you describe and summarize the information you have collected. The data for the Indicators are primarily quantitative in nature (numbers and counts of participants and events). Analysis of these data can include frequencies (i.e., the totaling of numbers in each category of data, such as the total number of participants in a professional development event). Percentages and means can be calculated if your program requires it.
Detailed information on your target populations can also be recorded and used for analysis purposes. These characteristics may be important to consider later when interpreting the results and developing recommendations. For instance, in addition to recording the number of professional development events held during the year, you may want to consider inputting the data on the characteristics of participants in the professional development events and tracking trends over time. Data can be aggregated as often as needed, but this should be done at least quarterly. Examples of relevant frequencies include the following.
For Training Tracker in particular, there are pre-programmed reports available for your use. These reports will give you basic frequency information from the data you have entered. If you want to do more or different analyses and reports, you will need to enlist the assistance of an Access programmer to develop them for you. There are a number of resources available on programming in ACCESS and using Excel’s analysis package. Please refer to Access 2003 All-in-one Desk Reference for Dummies or Excel for Dummies.