Secondary Data Review

Implement Secondary Data Review

National governments, UN agencies, as well as organizations specialized in assessment continuously collect large amounts of data. This data, which is not directly collected by or on behalf of the WASH coordination platform, is called secondary data.

Secondary data is often challenging to analyze because of its overwhelming amount, uneven quality and incomplete coverage. To make sense out of secondary data, a Secondary Data Review (SDR) must be implemented. An SDR is “a rigorous process of data collation, synthesis and analysis building on a desk study of all relevant data available” (ACAPS 2014).

The objectives of a SDR are two-fold. At the early stage of a sudden onset crisis, the SDR helps informing the initial response and feeding HPC outputs such as the Flash Appeal's Situational Analysis. At a later stage, the SDR helps identifying information gaps and designing primary data collection.

The SDR should be considered as a continuous and iterative process rather than a one-off activity: the initial SDR should be updated on a regular basis throughout the response to complement primary data collection and inform the Humanitarian Needs Overview.

The steps to implement a SDR are as follows:

Collect existing secondary data

Locate, track and compile relevant pieces of information (reports, maps, datasets, etc.) into a shared folder on a platform such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Do not restrain yourself to WASH-specific information and include any relevant data from other key sectors (nutrition, health, etc.) as defined in your assessment strategy. For a list of potential sources of information, see the GWC list of key data sources in the Key guidance and tools section.

Create a secondary data registry

The compilation is a continuous and often collective process: strong data management procedures need to be set up. A SDR registry is a useful tool that will help organizing the information you collate. The registry is usually an Excel database (see the 2016 GWC WASH SDR Templates in the Key guidance and tools section) where you can classify the information based on different criteria.

Identify information gaps

Go through the secondary data and identify information/data gaps in terms of availability, quality, representativeness, stratification, geographical coverage, etc. comparing what is available with the requirements set in the assessment strategy. This will help understanding what primary data should be collected.