Refining questions to be answered with available data

  • STEP 3: Refine questions to be answered with available data


    • To finalise a set of questions that is answerable with available data and capacity


    • Activity A: Map out the data and capacities required
    • Activity B: Produce a question analysis framework


    • Document including the final list of priority policy questions that can be answered with available data and capacity of the NIPN team.
    • Questions analysis framework setting out availability, accessibility, quality of data and capacities required to address the policy questions.
  • Activity A: Map out the data and capacities required

    At this stage, it is important to assess the gap between the data required for robust data analysis and the data available, as well as the challenges presented by the available data.

    The NIPN policy experts review the final list of priority questions for NIPN which is the output of the consultation workshop in Step 2, to ensure these are fully aligned with the policy makers’ priorities and the political calendar (‘window of opportunity’). They also recommend the optimal order for answering questions by data analysis taking into account that initial results may influence the direction of the analysis.

    The NIPN data experts review the list of questions to establish whether they can be answered based on the technical feasibility criteria. To do so they will:

    • Map out the data availability and accessibility of data required to respond to the questions, while also taking into account data quality. The data landscape will be a helpful document for this exercise (section 3.1).
    • Review the capacity required to access and analyse the necessary data using robust methods, within the necessary time frame. This capacity may already exist within the NIPN country team. If this is not the case, the capacity may need to be strengthened or acquired within the time frame in which results have to be produced. Ensure that these capacity development needs are adequately reflected in the NIPN capacity development plan (section 1.3).
    Framework for mapping data and indicators
    Example of data mapping in a fictional country
  • Activity B: Produce a question analysis framework (1/2)

    Based on the previous step, now develop a question analysis framework which includes the following details for each question separately:

    • The available and accessible data, its source and quality, noting data gaps.
    • The methods to be used for analysis and the estimated time to do analysis.
    • The required tools and software.
    • The required human resources and capacities.

    Question analysis framework in Mali (from the NEP)

    Priority question n°1: "What are the reasons for the Mopti region presenting lower level indicators in relation to mother and child health and nutrition than the other regions according to the EDHS-V (2015-2016)"

    Question analysis framework from Niger (from the NIPN)

    Priority question n°4: "What is the state of financial investments in nutrition in Niger and their evolution in relation to the needs as defined in the mutlisectoral nutrition plan of action?"

  • Activity B: Produce a question analysis framework (2/2)

    It is unlikely to find the ideal situation, regarding data availability and quality and team capacity. Therefore a final decision will need to be made based on a well-informed and balanced judgement for which the policy and data units need to work hand in hand. It is important to always keep initial strategic opportunities & timing (window of opportunity) in mind. Even conclusions regarding data limitations (data gaps or poor data quality) present useful information in itself.

    Based on the assessment of the technical feasibility, the NIPN policy experts and NIPN data experts will jointly decide on the final ranking of the full set of policy questions on which the NIPN team will work. The question analysis framework makes it possible to document and keep track of the questions that can and will be answered completely or partially by NIPN or others, and which questions have lower priority and for which the time and human resources’ investment is not feasible. The lower priority questions will be saved in a ’Question Bank’ and potential further steps will be explored with the Multisectoral Advisory Committee and other nutrition partners (see section 2.5).

    Prior to beginning data analysis, the NIPN data experts will work out a much more detailed data analysis plan to guide the work of the NIPN data experts. This is further described in the guidance note on data analysis (section 3.4).

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