Affinity Mapping Usability of Humanitarian Evaluations

We recently undertook research for UNICEF’s Evaluation Unit as part of a submission to their Executive Board. Our contribution centred around the usability of evaluations and lessons that have emerged from recent evaluations of humanitarian action.

The main challenge that we faced was to identify 4-5 major findings from the hundreds of observations, conclusions, and lessons contained in UNICEF’s evaluation library. The method that we used to distil this data down to five conclusions was Affinity Mapping (sometimes called affinity diagramming).

Affinity Mapping is a powerful way of sorting ideas or data into ‘buckets’ – emergent categories – based on the links between them. We have also used this technique when we redesigned WFP’s School Feeding training with Justin from Second Road.

Gamestorming have a great blog article on using Affinity Mapping for ideas, and iAquire have one on using Affinity Mapping to turn data into design personas.