(discussion started at Members’ Assembly 17)
To contribute to the focus on people using IATI data, I wanted to provide some observations from supporting people to do so. Hopefully this is useful. I’d suggest that we try to refrain from getting into a solution immediately, but try to gather insights on how people do actually use IATI
A first observation relates to documents. Specifically, this is about the log frames, evaluation strategies, reports and such that are often linked to IATI activities. DFID, for example, publish links to many documents via their IATI data: here’s a random example.
My observation is really quite simple: when using interfaces such as devtracker of d-portal, people often end up at these documents.
People usually do this after a search and filter process: “show me the Agriculture activities in Tanzania”. On receipt of a list of relevant projects, people then scan through, check, and hone in on ones they are interested in. On landing on a page about one of these activities, then the documents are a hotspot for attention. Often, people are both surprised and engaged by the access to these documents: it seems to make transparency more evident than the numbers and dates we more readily associate as data.
And, thats it! It’s nothing groundbreaking, but worth noting.
What does this mean for the concept of data use and IATI? Perhaps this presents the community with a couple of challenges:
1 - would we consider people accessing documents via IATI data to be data users?
2 - and if documents are useful, then would the publishing them instead of data be acceptable (it’s possible to point to a results document, for example, without publishing results data , for example)?
Underneath all this is probably a discussion about the relevant merits and uses of quantitative and qualitative information. I want to stress, however: this is an observation from people using IATI data…
Has anybody witnessed the same?