Methods and implementation of data collection

Anytime a market is counting visitors, collecting sales, or recording volunteer hours, it is collecting and creating primary data. Knowing the potential benefits and limitations of different types and the resources needed to collect it will help a market make the best choice of what to collect based on its needs, capacity and goals.

In 2015, the Indicators for Impact research team, led by University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Alfonso Morales and Lauren Suerth, created a Data Collection Package (DCP) template with collection protocols for the 28 metrics that were selected by the nine markets in the project. The DCPs rely on previously tested collection techniques developed by market researchers including for example, OSU’s Rapid Market Assessment, MarketUmbrella’s trans•act project, British Columbia Farmers Market Association’s Demonstrating Value as well as unpublished market collection methods and research from other fields.

Over the summer of 2015, feedback and observation of the Indicators for Impact data collection process informed the development of Module 3: Methods and Implementation (Coming Soon) of the Farmers Market Metrics Training Materials. Farmers market leaders across the country also reviewed the materials and offered further input on the collection techniques and training language.

The three general methods used currently in Farmers Market Metrics are Document Review, Observation, and Surveys with specific market methods and collection instruments adapated for each method. A sample: