Capturing and Analysing Qualitative Social Value Data

Posted on the 13th May 2019

Why you should capture qualitative social value data

Open-ended surveys, interviews, and observations are tested ways of qualitatively understanding your social value. Each of these can be supplemented with media to provide additional context and richness of detail. It is about ‘telling the story’ to make your CSR reporting more engaging.

As well as being useful for marketing and social media these images and videos can be used as auditable proof of the activities have taken place.

Given a worldwide trend for distrust in businesses (56% globally), there is a need to go above and beyond in proving trustworthiness. Thus, transparency is key, and using first- or second-hand narratives and visual proof are an easy way to showcase your authenticity.

Two things you need to consider before you capture qualitative data:

One of the big discussions within the social impact reporting space is regarding standardisation and credibility. Much of the discussion here revolves around ensuring that data garnered is high in validity and low in research bias. At Impact, we’re keen to promote two considerations in particular, for clients who are looking to capture qualitative data.

  1. Ethics – As meta as it may seem, it’s important to consider how ethical you are being in measuring the impact of your ethical work. For example, do you have the permission of participants to collect their information? Is this permission stored securely, and can they withdraw their permission at a later date? If you don’t have the answers to these questions, it is worth familiarising yourself with GDPR regulations before you begin to collect your data.
  2. Methodology – We believe that the capture of social value data should be straightforward and, whilst we know that not everyone is seeking to capture their data to the same methodological rigour as an academic research project, it is worthwhile clearly planning, defining and justifying your approach. Keep this in mind whenever you are tracking the same activity or project over a period of time to make sure your collection method is consistent and, ultimately, auditable.

Analysing Qualitative Data

It is important that you extract key qualitative insights effectively and properly, to learn lessons and make more informed decisions.

Content analysis or thematic coding are great ways to find patterns within the data, making a mass of data easier to interpret and so draw conclusions from. However, the drawback is that it can be quite time-consuming to complete.

As an alternative, Impact feeds responses automatically into a visual WordCloud using frequency mapping. This saves time for the user, as the Cloud completes a primary ‘sort through’ of the key language used. This provides our users with an organised visual display and a first-level analysis.

WordClouds can be scanned to quickly identify key messaging, which are used as the foundation of a hypothesis. You can then marry up your findings to the numerical figures you have acquired. Simple.

For example…

You could align feedback and specific quotes around changes in staff wellbeing with the figures that reveal a top-level understanding of the extent of wellness amongst staff. The hard statistics might showcase staff wellbeing as being low but, without qualitative examples, these data can only take you so far. You could, instead, extract keywords like ‘overworked’ and ‘stressed’ or names of specific projects to identify what factors are influencing these low satisfaction scores. These insights will allow you to address key pain points more confidently and competently.

Time to reflect

Now is the time to reflect. Take the time to review your existing initiatives, and determine where additional, qualitative insight might provide added value for you or your stakeholders.

Using Impact makes it easy to embed qualitative information capture into the activities that you’re already measuring with raw numbers – get in contact with us if you want to know more.

Once you’ve committed to understanding more about your impact, trial it. Take the leap, and reap the rewards. Show the results to your boss and communications team, and make them happy. Lastly, and most importantly, learn from the insights and have an even bigger, better impact.

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