Data Gathering and Analysis

Issued on June 12 2012

A Support for DFI Member Organisations

The rationale behind Data Gathering and Analysis

Data Gathering and Analysis is the first step in the planning process and is essential in the delivery of effective services. In addition, the majority of disability organisations are in some way involved in lobbying and campaigning in the interests of people with disabilities. Organisation can be a lot more effective in their attempts to influence policy and legislation by gathering and analysing relevant data to use as evidence to promote change.

The use of both nationally available data and disability specific statistics can greatly assist planning, funding applications, goal setting, realistic reviews and achievements and overall outcomes for an organisation. DFI wants to assist relevant personnel within organisations to begin the process of understanding, and being able to access and use this data to plan in a real and relevant way.

What are the benefits of data gathering and analysis to the organisation?

  • Helps define the specific numbers and distribution of people with disabilities nationally and/or in a particular area.
  • Provides potential data on the numbers with a specific condition or in receipt of a particular service in an area relevant to the organisation.
  • Facilitates the organisation to better plan, based on possible demand.
  • Increases awareness of the needs of people with disabilities in the organisation and in the wider community.
  • Motivates the organisation to become an agent for change, empowerment and development.
  • Strengthens funding applications by using statistical evidence.
  • Supports the organisation to lobby for change on a particular issue affecting the organisation and people with disabilities.

What DFI supports are available?

DFI can help by providing the following advice and practical support:

  • One to one support to organisations that want to explore the statistics available to them, and identify how they might use them constructively in their strategic planning and/or campaigning work.
  • The Data Gathering and Analysis resource pack is available on the DFI website: .
  • DFI regularly runs a practical workshop on Data Gathering and Analysis.

The Data Gathering and Analysis Workshop

The Data Gathering and Analysis Workshop offers practical and interactive training, that will assist relevant personnel within an organisation to interpret and use health and socio-economic data to further their policy and campaign work.

In order to participate, the organisation will need to know why it wants to gather data and information. The following are the types of questions you should ask yourself before signing up to the workshop:

  • What information do you need?
  • Is your need general or specific?
  • Is it gender based?
  • Is it geographical?
  • Is it age based?
  • What will the information be used for?

The workshop is to be delivered in DFI, starting at 10.00 a.m. and finishing at 4.00 pm. To make the most out of the event, organisations should take the time to ensure that the most appropriate person in the organisation is the one who attends the training. Learning by doing is a very reliable method for ensuring competency, accuracy and confidence.

To prepare for the training workshop please complete the pre-learning questionnaire to be found on or from your Support Officer. It is also helpful if the person attending the workshop has read the DFI Guide to Government Policy on Disability -

The workshop is held at regular intervals and below is a sample session plan with the type of topics and workshops that will be covered on the day.

DFI Data Gathering an Analysis Workshop – Sample Session Plan

Date: See DFI website

Time: 10 am to 4 pm.

Venue: DFI

Objectives of the workshop:

  • To provide an overview of data gathering and profiling of people with disabilities resources and methods.
  • To assist an organisation to gather data, statistics and information that is relevant to their re-alignment, planning or campaigning needs.
  • To explore the data gathering process and its value to the change agenda and strategic planning


Data Gathering and Analysis Workshop Sample Agenda

10.00 -11.00 a.m.


Presentations on Data Gathering and Analysis covering:

  • An Introduction to social analysis and data
  • Presentation and work on accessing national databases and sources of information e.g. CSO, Labour market surveys etc.

11.00 – 11.15 a.m.


11.15 – 1.00 p.m.

Practical Application – please bring your own laptop if you have one

  • Interactive facilitated exercises on data gathering and analysis

1.00 – 2.00 p.m.


2.00 – 2.45 p.m.

Presentations on Data Gathering and Analysis covering:

  • Disability Specific Data e.g. HSE, NDA, NPSDD

2.45 – 3.00 p.m.


3.00 – 4.00 p.m.

Practical Application in a disability context

Evaluation of the day

Disability research resources

Section 1: Disability related institutions

The National Disability Authority (NDA) is the independent state body providing expert advice on disability policy and practice to the Minister, and promoting Universal Design in Ireland. One of the primary objectives of the NDA is to undertake research and develop statistical information for the planning, delivery and monitoring of programmes and services for people with disabilities.

The Centre for Disability Law & Policy at the National University of Ireland, Galway, was formally established in 2008 and is dedicated to producing research that informs the debate on national and international disability law reform.

The ANED(ANED) was established by the European Commission in 2008 to provide scientific support and advice for its disability policy unit. In particular, the activities of ANED will support the future development of the EUDisability Action Plan, and practical implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. The Centre for Disability Law and Policy is responsible for preparing the annual ANED thematic reports for Ireland.

The Centre for Disability Studies , University College Dublin, was established in 2002 and is dedicated to the emerging field of disability studies. The main research focus of the Centre is on applied topics and issues that have very practical implications for people with disabilities, their families and service providers. They are interested in the way in which research can inform practice in real world settings.

The National Institute for Intellectual Disability (NIID), Trinity College has been established as a research centre with a view to improve inclusive policy and practice for individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families.

Section 2: Disability related statistical sources

The Central Statistics Office publishes compiles and publishesa wealth of statistical information on the population. Of interest to the disability sector is the Census of Population, the National Disability Survey, information on the Live Register and the Quarterly National Household Budget Survey and the EU Survey on Income and Living Conditions (EU - SILC).

The Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) - produces research that contributes to our understanding of economic and social change in the new international context and that informs public policymaking and civil society in Ireland. ESRI researchers have made extensive use of data bases at the Central Statistics Office and also collect primary data for research purposes in Ireland. The Institute’s principal output is knowledge that is disseminated widely in books, research papers, journal articles, reports, and public presentations.

The Health Research Board (HRB) is a statutory body in Ireland aiming to promote, assist, commission or conduct medical, epidemiological, health and health services research. The HRB manages two national service-planning databases for people with disabilities on behalf of the Department of Health and Children:

  • National Intellectual Disability Database (NIDD), established in 1995.
  • National Physical and Sensory Disability Database (NPSDD), established in 2002.

The disability databases aim to provide a comprehensive and accurate information base for decision making in relation to the planning of specialist health and personal social services for people with intellectual, physical or sensory disabilities.

Requests for statistical information from the NPSDD for research purposes are welcome and the proper procedures for doing so are outlined on their website.

The Institute for Public Health (IPH) promotes cooperation for public health on the island of Ireland. Their work areas include social determinants & health inequalities, health communities and public health policy.

The Equality Authority is an independent body set up under the Employment Equality Act 1998. It was established on 18th October 1999. It can undertake or sponsor research to progress its functions under the equality legislation and has a useful publications section.

National Office for Social Inclusion was established on 1 July 2009 when the Combat Poverty Agency and the Office for Social Inclusion were integrated within the Department of Social and Family Affairs. Its functions include the co-ordination and monitoring of government strategies for social inclusion and to report on poverty trends at National and European levels. Their publications page includes Ireland's ‘National Action Plan for Social Inclusion 2007 – 2016’ and a ‘Social Portrait of People with Disabilities 2011’.

Section 3: Recommended research and statistical reports

  1. ESRI and Department of Social Protection (2011) ‘Social Portrait of People with Disabilities in Ireland’.
  2. Central Statistics Office (2008) ‘National Disability Survey 2006 – First Results’.
  3. Central Statistics Office (2010) ‘National Disability Survey 2006 – Volume 2’.
  4. Central Statistics Office (2010) ‘Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2009’.
  5. Health Research Board (2010) ‘National Physical and Sensory Disability Database Committee Annual Report 2009’.
  6. Health Research Board (2011) ‘Issue 5: Measure of Activity and Participation (MAP): Disability data sources in Ireland’.
  7. National Disability Authority (2006) ‘A Strategy of Engagement: Towards a Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities’
  8. Gannon, Brenda / Nolan, Brian (2005) ‘Disability and Social Inclusion in Ireland’ National Disability Authority and The Equality Authority

Contact information

For information and contact details for the DFI Support Officer in your area please contact DFI Head Office at 01-454 7978 or look at our website .