Data Assessment Matrix - Principles and General Procedures


Definitions and Basic Steps

A differentiation has to be made between data and information.

Definitions for data:

  • Data are facts or figures from which conclusions can be inferred (Webster’s dictionary),
  • Data are facts that result from measurements or observations about the world,
  • Data describe the traits of objects, relationships between objects, events and processes of the real world.


Definitions for information:

  • Something told, news, intelligence (Webster’s dictionary),
  • Information is processed data,
  • Information is the knowledge derived from the analysis and interpretation of data,
  • Information is knowledge about facts, processes and events transmitted by a communication process knowledge is not based upon own experience learning is possible through own experience or communication information to replace learning process.


Using a similar matrix as provided in the example below, the planner should undertake a systematic assessment of the data and information available for planning.

Step 1:

Develop a similar matrix as provided in the example below, however, please adapt the example to suit the purposes and requirements.

Step 2:

Assess all the data and information which is available in your office.

Step 3:

During discussions and interviews with all sectoral line agencies and all other developmental agencies working in the district, assess their own data availability.

Step 4:

Agencies or departments who can not be readily interviewed could be asked to complete the matrix and submit this to your office.


A data and information overview matrix as presented in table 1 is designed merely designed as an example. It is important that the organisation or institution wishing to collect the data and information develops a matrix to suit their needs and requirements. The information can be portrayed differently in the matrix and the type of information gathered can and should also vary. The objective of the matrix is to provide an overview of all of the available data and information that can be used for planning or management purposes. It describes where the information is located, whether it is accessible, when it was last updated and so on. The matrix provides an important first step towards information and knowledge management.  


Table 1: Example of a data and information assessment matrix