Sounds like using existing data is the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Sounds like focus groups are the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Don’t know how to answer your research questions?

We can guide you through some of the choice points.

There are many ways to investigate an issue. There’s no one way to go about finding answers. Use our tool to help you understand the pros and cons of each approach.

Sounds like interviews are the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Sounds like mapping is the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Sounds like observations are the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Sounds like photovoice is the right

approach for investigating your issue.


Has anyone already gathered

data about the issue?

There are many entities that gather data on an assortment of different issues. Many times it’s a good starting point to see what already exists.

Can you gather data without talking

to people?

In other words, can you see the issue? Some examples include whether parks are open or whether the street lamps work on your street.

Are you able to take pictures of the


Remember, you must ask permission to take pictures of people. And even though a picture is worth a thousand words, sometimes there’s more going on than a few pictures can capture.

Do you want to map the issue

to specific places?

This may be helpful if you’re trying to compare and contrast the conditions between two areas, for example.

Which is more important?

Talking to a lot of people or depth?

Depth can facilitate some back and forth to dig into nuanced issues but can be more time consuming and may mean less diversity of opinion.

Do you need to talk to people


Group discussions don’t work for every research question.

Sounds like surveys are the right

approach for investigating your issue.

Existing Data

Finding and using existing data can help reduce the burden of data collection and tool development. It can also show you data over time that you may not otherwise be able to collect. Continue Reading Existing Data

3 lessons

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a form of qualitative research in which a group of people are asked about their perceptions, opinions, beliefs, and attitudes about something specific. Questions are asked in an interactive group setting where participants are free to talk with other group members. Continue Reading Focus Groups

2 lessons


Interviews are typically between two people, an interviewer and interviewee. The main task in interviewing is to understand the meaning of what the interviewees say. Interviewing, when considered as a method for conducting qualitative research, is a technique used to understand the experiences of others. Continue Reading Interviews

8 lessons


Mapping gives you the opportunity to visually represent your community and understand its current conditions. This can be helpful in qualitative research to determine assets and issues that can lead to research questions. Continue Reading Mapping

4 lessons


Observations are a key part of data collection. By looking closely and carefully, you can gain valuable information that can help you to answer your research question. This section offers lessons about how to make accurate, unbiased, and useful observations to further your research. Continue Reading Observations

2 lessons


Photovoice is a unique type of participatory action research that uses photography to capture the conditions in a community. It provides a diverse set of data that stem from each person’s point of view and photography techniques. This section contains lessons that explain this data collection method and how it can lead to grassroots change. Continue Reading Photovoice

10 lessons


Surveys are research tools that allow you to collection information from many people within your community. You can find lessons in this section about how to create your own surveys, how to test them, and how to administer them. Continue Reading Surveys

6 lessons