Philadelphia Non-profit Evaluators Coalition - January 2020

In this talk, I describe why I use code to do data analysis and make the case that other evalutors can and should do the same. This starts from the perspective that:

  1. Data analysis offers the power to critically examine and improve our organizations and advance their missions

  2. The way we do data analysis isn’t (always) conducive to this

  3. Using code can help

I discuss how I conslidated 30+ individuals reports into four base tables that allowed my team to examine any question we might have about our organization’s work. I aruge that code provides a number of benefits, including provenance, repoducibility, and the flexibility that plain text provides. I then share what organizing our data in this way and using code to conduct analyses allowed us to do, and I end by sharing ways that other professional evaluators can get started learning code.

The slides for this talk are available here. The inspiration and some of the content for this talk comes from Hadley Wickham’s talk You Can’t Do Data Science in a GUI.