Getting to actionable insights from your qualitative data
29 June 2018 - BY Tim Lyons
Best practices for collaborating with colleagues, data source considerations, and sharing actionable insights for healthcare and non-profit researchers
Collaboration and stakeholder management
Engaging in a research project outside of an academic context can be a much different experience, particularly for those working in healthcare, non-profits and NGO’s. One of the major differences you’re likely to come across, is the process of stakeholder engagement and management and the types of stakeholders you’re working with.
Effective management and engagement of stakeholders is key to the overall success of your project in your organization, and following these best practice tips will set you on right course:
- Identify who the stakeholders are; they may be colleagues, management, patients, customers or the wider public
- Develop communication management plans; being able to communicate the outcomes of your research is paramount to good stakeholder management
- Engage and influence stakeholders: engaging and collaborating with your various stakeholders throughout the research journey is key
- Establish what you want to achieve as the outcome of your project. Knowing up front what your goals are allows you to effectively communicate this to all involved, and ultimately finish with a measurable outcome.
Consider all your data options
Data can come from an almost infinite number of sources, so it’s important that you ensure you consider all areas that could contribute to your research.
Sources such as images, social networks and media, focus groups, video, audio, and survey results can all play a significant role in influencing your research findings.
The rich insights that may be the key to the next big decision for your organization are often found in this ‘humanized data’. It’s the ‘why’ behind the ‘what’ that will give your research depth and defensibility. It’s also worth considering that being flexible with your research methodology could result in different insights than you may have originally thought. The way in which you interrogate your data speaks directly to your end goals for the outcome of the project, so it’s important to keep this in mind when designing your research.
Organizations of all sizes and sectors conduct research with a goal in mind, whether it’s to secure future funding, analyze results of a program, or to measure customer feedback. It’s important to ensure that the insights derived from your qualitative research show a valid outcome with rigor behind it.
Stakeholders and management need to understand the insights and what can be done about them. Is action needed? Does it support the belief? Do programs need to shift based on the findings? The key to getting the insights you need from your qualitative data is knowing what your goals are when you begin. If you set yourself up for success at this step, harnessing the power of what your data is telling you is so much more achievable