Working with questions and data

Find out how to work with data and questions when you are conducting dementia-friendly research. Including how to develop questions, how to measure outcomes, and guidance of planning and reporting. 

If you don't ask, you don't get... the answers that will be most useful for you, so set your questions carefully.

Improve your questions by testing them with people living with dementia before using them widely.

  • Think about how you will interpret responses
    • to inform designing and delivering your contract/service
    • to report on the findings, and
    • to action plan for improvement.
  • Communication skills can change with dementia. It can be challenging to find the right words and to avoid jargon, but people with dementia may be able to help you.
    • For example, when we involved people living with dementia at Peterborough Dementia Resource Centre in developing the first survey for people with dementia for this resource, the word 'toolkit' brought to mind a box of DIY tools, which they were able to tell us was confusing and made it hard for them to share their thoughts as they imagined a traditional box full of spanners, screwdrivers, hammers... which seemed to them nothing to do with healthcare.  They were also able to suggest ways to simplify other language and highlight terminology that was unfamiliar and would benefit from explanation if used. Their inputs significantly improved the finished version of the survey. 

Image shows Peterborough Dementia Resource Centre.

Mix it up!


Usually, it's a good idea to ask a mix of questions, so that you collect a mix of both quantitative and qualitative data - identifying ‘the what’ and ‘the why’ of people's experiences and giving you strong, reliable, and valid findings. For example, a good survey may include a mix of question types which generate different types of data. An interview, might ask people to score themselves on a scale, as well as including opportunities to share personal stories. 


The image below shows some key themes from our survey of commissioners and organisations.  What we can understand from the numbers ('quantitative' data) is enriched by the comments ('qualitative' data). (Please click this link for a larger version.)

Image shows a diagram of feedback themes from survey of organisations.

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