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Katherine Lymn headshot

Ari Kopycinski headshotHi! We’re Ari, Amy, and Katherine from The Improve Group. In this IG-ology we share how we write findings statements. We are drawing on our expertise, our experience on projects, and learnings from the evaluation field, like from Stephanie Evergreen, whose work on how to present findings and data inspires us at IG.

What are finding statements?

Findings statements communicate important takeaways, so the reader of a report understands what is important. They are often one or two sentences that summarize a theme from a dataset; they may also make a concrete recommendation based on the data. A reader should be able to read just the findings statements in a report and understand what they need to know from an evaluation.

Good findings statements …

  • Use active voice to be clear who or what is responsible for the change.
  • Use action verbs that specify exactly what change should be made, if the statement suggests a change.
  • Go beyond a data point to synthesize multiple forms of evidence and make deeper meaning of what data showed.
  • Answer evaluation questions—or answer questions you didn’t think to ask but that are important.
  • Address the bigger picture at play, such as systems of oppression and how that affects results.

How do we write findings statements?

The process of writing findings statements depends on the project, the team, the types of data, and other factors. Typically, we first review summaries from analysis of each type of data collection (e.g., quantitative survey frequencies, qualitative interview analysis, and qualitative focus group analysis). We then “triangulate” across each method to see where data from multiple sources point to something similar. In one project, we recently used an online interactive whiteboard platform to organize different data points into themes. For each of these themes, we collaborated to carefully draft finding statements that responded to evaluation questions and incorporated context from the data. We will then bring draft statements to clients and evaluation participants to add their insights.