Implications on the suitability of data analysis methods for the formulation of nutrition policy-relevant questions

  • The wording of the questions may directly imply a particular data analysis method. For example, a question starting with: “What is the cost-effectiveness of intervention X on…?” directly implies a cost-effectiveness analysis. Therefore, the fact that existing data do not lend themselves to such a method has a very direct implication for the feasibility of answering this question.
  • In some cases, the wording of the question can be adjusted so that it implies a data analysis method that is better suited for answering, fully or partially, the concerns of policy makers. In particular, questions implying an impact evaluation methodology will need to be unpacked into sub-questions that address the other elements along the impact pathway. This is described in section 2.
  • It is recommended that NIPN uses existing data to analyse ’implementation progress’ towards targets of multisectoral nutrition action plans. Progress can be measured at different levels of the impact pathway, which ranges from inputs (financial and human resources, activities (interventions), outputs (coverage) and outcomes (determinants) to nutrition impact.
  • However, it is NOT recommended to use existing data to analyse questions regarding causality, impact and cost-efficiency of malnutrition. To answers these questions, either a global literature review can be carried out to provide the information or, if this is not sufficient, a specific study will need to be designed to collect new data.
Types of questions suited and not suited to data analysis by NIPN
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Four examples of well-formulated questions