Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Data Quality - An Evaluator's Job?

Recently, P.Allison Minugh posted this question on the AEA group on LinkedIn:

I find there isn't much interest in data management, so I am curious: How important is data management to your evaluation studies, and why or why not? 

My Response was: 

In South Africa, the issue of data management has been consistently handled under what we call "data quality" or "information quality" specialization fields. It has become increasingly more visible at our evaluation conferences, and we are starting to develop a framework for the training and certification of information quality professionals.

Recently there was a Data Quality Conference in Pretoria, and my impression was that Data Management seems to be an IT function in the USA (with a push towards standards like ISO 8000). Here, In South Africa, it is often part of the M&E officer's job. It really is a grassroots concern - How to capture clinical data from paper records, how to make data available across clinics, how to reduce double counting, how to ensure that data collection tools are designed to enhance VRIPT (Validity, Reliability, Integrity, Precision and Timeliness), how to set up your Data Management System (Collection, Collation and Capturing, Reporting and Use) to ensure optimal quality and use.

Data Quality Assessments and Audits have become increasingly more pervasive - in especially the Health Sector (where District Health Information Systems need to produce all kinds of data for reporting on development initiatives, also to major donors like USAID) and the Education Sector (where the Educational Management Information System is used).

Some of my colleagues at FeedbackRA have recently done the "Information Quality Certified Professional" course. More info on this at: http://www.feedbackra.co.za/data-quality-qualifications/

A good book on the topic is titled "Data Quality Assessment" by Arkady Maydanchik



Anzel said...

On the definition of DM: Larry English defines data management/administration as "the management and control of data as an enterprise asset. It includes strategic information planning, establishing data-related standards, policies, and procedures, and data modelling and information architecture"(www.iaidq.org - some good resources there by the way). I really like the idea of data as "enterprise asset", and I think it should be treated as such.

To my mind data management is a critical evaluation sub-component. Both the "process" side of data mangement (data flow, related policies/procedures etc) and architecture/system design are usually critical factors in determining the accuracy of project performance (results/evidence based management). The emergence of ISO 8000 as a standard for assessment has certainly changed the way in which we evaluate/assess information quality/data mangement. We are currently aiming towards assessing/measuring DQ processes/paper based systems with ISO 9001:2008 while using ISO 8000 for more mature data management systems. With ISO 8000, a lot of the data management validation/measurement can in be automated.

The SAATCA Data Management Auditing Scheme Committee is currently working on professional certification and training criteria for DQ/IQ auditors under ISO 8000/9001:2008

Benita Williams said...

Anzel, thanks for the reference to www. iaidq.org