ONA: Collecting interaction data

If you’ve been looking for a way to map network data for your organization and derive meaningful output, you are at the right place. In my last post, I mentioned that there were two ways one could go about collecting data to create network maps. While each has its pro and cons, I would recommend going ahead with collecting via surveys vs through back-end data from servers. Before, I tell you why, let’s take a quick look at the table below.

Surveys Back-End Data
Pros: Pros:
Customized, detailed information from target group Information on larger networks may be available
Participants control data they want to share with the network May provide more objective data
Cons: Cons:
High response rates are critical Privacy Concerns
Network cannot be too large Difficult to separate noise from useful data
Survey cannot be too long Large data sets can generate statistically significant but unimportant findings
May lead to inaccurate responses

Here’s why I prefer surveys: The best way to maintain confidentiality of content and user’s control is launching a survey. Especially with rising concerns around privacy, it is a good idea to give control to an individual on what information they want to share. If your target audience sees value in the exercise, they are more likely to give you accurate information. In addition, the biggest problem with back-end data is separation of noise. Not doing that well could lead to maps that you can derive zero intelligence from.

The cons of surveys, in my opinion, are easier to tackle vs collecting back-end data. I will talk about how to build a strong survey & tips on handling challenges like high response rate next week. So stay tuned!

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