CASE STUDY: Measuring Indicators: The New Leaders Foundation find interviews to be effective

Measuring Indicators: The New Leaders Foundation find interviews to be effective

The New Leaders Foundation (NLF) measure the management and leadership skills of education district officials. THe NLF use different tools, such as the 'Application of Knowledge and Skills Questionnaire” and sections of the 'M&E Toolkit' which they send to stakeholders to complete.

During this process they have come across common issues in measurement. For example, they found that some respondents would fill in questionnaires using one word answers, with little time given to the exercise.  The questionnaires were not giving useful and insightful information. Additionally, some answers did not make sense or were unclear, indicating a lack of understanding by the respondents. In the toolkit surveys, where answers are quantitative and converted to scales, respondents tended towards the middle/neutral option, instead of taking a firm stance.

Interestingly, surveys conducted via face-to-face interviews resulted in more detailed and useful answers from respondents than the ones given over email. This makes intuitive sense, in that interviewees are likely to pay more attention and exert more effort in answering questions fully face-to-face. The interviewer is also able to explain a question if it is misunderstood or unclear.

There are some potential drawbacks in doing face-to-face interviews. It can be a costly, timely and geographically challenging process, especially if an organisation wants to interview many  people. It can also take away the advantages of anonymity, although this can be mitigated by using external interviewers and assuring respondents that their personal details will remain anonymous.