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Quantitative data analysis Toolbox

1 Introduction

Who has never been at a loss when faced with a dataset, not knowing where to start or how to get the information you need? You could be at loss when you have to choose between mean and median, or if you don’t know what a variable is and how to analyse it.

In the humanitarian sector, we are often required to conduct some data analysis for program management and M&E, despite not necessarily having a background that includes formal training on the subject. Therefore, this toolbox has been designed to focus on some of the common analysis methods used within the sector. The target audience is any beginner that wants or needs to start doing data analysis within the humanitarian sector.

Data analysis can be very overwhelming for those who have not been trained to understand and manipulate data, but you are in a good place to start. Overall, the toolbox aims to provide an accessible theoretical explanation for data analysis within the aid sector.

How to use it?

This toolbox has been designed with independent modules so users do not need to read the document from beginning to end. As a whole, the content provides an introduction to the necessary steps to conduct data analysis. This toolbox is composed of 6 modules:

Throughout the toolbox, we will be providing examples and references to a case-study, for which we recommend to consult the description here. The case study is a rapid needs assessment, which provides examples of common and/or standardized humanitarian indicators. Excel will be the basis of the applied analysis in the case-study, as it is understood this is the most common tool in field-level programming.

This toolbox will a lot refer to an Excel toolbox (available in French), which goes into more specific applied skills and tools used in humanitarian and development work. The goal is for users to directly apply the theory in this toolbox to application using their own data or data provided by the case study.

To begin with Information and data Management in general (not only analysis) you can also check out CartONG’s Information Management beginner’s glossary.

To pursue your initiation to analysis, you can also check out the Data visualization toolbox.


This toolbox has been jointly written by CartONG and MapAction.

Created in 2006, CartONG is a French H2H/support NGO specialized in Information Management. Our goal is to put data at the service of humanitarian, development and social action projects. We are dedicated to improving the quality and accountability of field activities, in particular through better needs assessments and monitoring and evaluation. We act as a multidisciplinary resources and expertise centre, accompanying our partners’ strategies and operations. Our staff and volunteers also support the community as a whole by producing documentation, building capacities and raising awareness on the technical, strategic and ethical challenges of digital technologies.

This toolbox was produced as part of the project “Strengthening Information Management within francophone CSOs” led by CartONG and co-financed by the French Development Agency (AFD) over the 2019-2022 period. For more information, see the article published on our website or contact us by email.


This publication is supported by the French Development Agency (AFD), Action Against Hunger (ACF) and Terre des Hommes (Tdh). Nevertheless, the ideas and opinions presented in this toolbox do not necessarily represent those of AFD, ACF and Tdh.

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This toolbox was designed using resources from and The Noun Project.