What’s a “data party?” We attended a program by evaluator Kylie Hutchinson entitled “It’s a Data Party!” at the AEA 2015 conference last week in Chicago. A data party is another name for a kind of participatory data analysis, where you gather stakeholders together, show them some of the data that you have gathered and ask them to help analyze it.
Isn’t analyzing the data part of your job? Here are some reasons you might want to include stakeholders in the data analysis stage:
So how do you throw a data party? First of all you need to know what you hope to get from the attendees, since you may only be able to hold an event like this one time. There are a number of different ways to organize the event. You might want to consider using a World Cafe format, where everyone works together to explore a set of questions, or you could use an Open Space system in which attendees create their own agenda about what questions they want to discuss. Recently the AEA held a very successful online unconference using MIT’s Unhangout that could be used for an online Data Party with people from multiple locations.
The kinds of questions Kylie Hutchinson suggested asking at a data party include:
At the end of the party it might be time to present some findings and recommendations that you have. Considering the work that they have done, they may be more willing to listen. As Kylie Hutchinson said “People support what they helped create.”