When to use a check sheet
- When data can be observed and collected repeatedly by the same person or at the same location
- When collecting data on the frequency or patterns of events, tasks, problems or similar issues
- When converting raw data into more useful information
- When collecting data to demonstrate a process
How to use a check sheet
- Agree on what events, problems or tasks will be observed and recorded. Clearly define events to avoid doubt. Any events that are not easily captured or categorised could be included in an ‘other’ category.
- Determine when data will be collected and for how long.
- Design a form with clearly labelled categories and sufficient room for data entry. Make sure the form is easy to read and use.
- Before collecting data, ensure that all individuals that are collecting data share a common understanding of the task being measured to allow for consistent data capture.
- Test the check sheet for a short trial period to be sure appropriate data is being collected and is easy to use.
- Start data collection during the agreed period. Each time the targeted event or problem occurs, record data on the check sheet.
Example: The check sheet below was used to collect data on incomplete client referrals. The tick marks were added as data was collected over several weeks.
- After data collection is finished, analyse the material.
Use the excel check sheet template to convert the data into graphs. Make note of events that occurred frequently to inform any changes for improvement.
A possible change for improvement could lead to developing another type of check sheet (a check list) designed to prevent mistakes, incomplete care or to avoid duplication and excessive waste in administration time.
Check lists consist of the following:
- An outline of tasks to be performed and/or questions to be asked
- Boxes or spaces in which check marks or notes are entered to indicate when the question has been asked or task completed
Some examples of other types of check lists developed to improve child and youth mental health services include: