Each week we contribute tips to the ether of innovation in the Human Services and Education Sectors

Googling your data entry

In this short video, we describe how a Google tool can be applied to data entry in the field/community and at the office. Organizations will find the benefits of this tool increasingly important for the assessment of their programs and services.

Tip 1: Use Google form for in the field or event-based data entry such as at a registration table or a post-training evaluation survey.

Challenge to you: Many organizations need consumers of their programs to share information (e.g. names, zip code, preferences, etc.). When consumers share their information (e.g. for a raffle, a post-training evaluation form, etc.), the Google form automatically populates the information into a spreadsheet. Transform your paper-based approach to collecting information into an electronic approach; the Google form can be used on a computer, tablet, or smart phone while at an event or activity.

Tip 2: Use Google form for office-based data entry such as entering test scores, service case notes, and updated records.

Challenge to you: Many organizations collect a wide range of data (e.g. test scores, service case notes, and updated records). If your staff enter data into spreadsheets, then transform your spreadsheet-based approach into a Google form approach. With Google forms, there are fewer data entry errors because information is entered in a uniform manner, with reminders and “sign-posts” to guide the entries, and staff don’t have to stare at spreadsheet rows and columns.

 

Benefits of Googling your data entry:

1.Reduce data entry errors: Transcription of information from paper to computer creates opportunities for errors. Cut-out the paper approach and go directly to entering information into a Google form.

2.Reduce workload: Transcription of information from paper to computer creates duplicated time on data entry. Save time by entering information into the Google form that then automatically transfers the information into a spreadsheet.

3.Reinforce strategic design of data collection: In order to design a Google form, the types of data to be collected and ways to collect it (e.g. fill-in the blank, multiple choice, etc.) needs to be strategically outlined in advance. Decide how best to collect certain types of information, with consideration of how data will be analyzed later.

 

What about confidentiality?

If you use a Google form (or any open-source tool) for organizing and managing people’s information, then make sure to use coded pseudonyms rather than true names (e.g. my code name might be MVYA01232016; initials, month and day of birth, and year in the program), and keep a legend of true names and code names in a locked drawer in the office. Other types of sensitive information should not be placed in open-source tools (e.g. social security numbers). We believe, however, that the benefits of using Google forms are worth the little extra effort needed to ensure confidentiality.

 

We love to hear about examples and experiments that you’re undertaking in the collection of information. Please share them with us at [email protected]

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Weekly Assessment Tips: a Vlog that supports assessment in the Human Services and Education Sectors