© Gates Archive I Dominique Catton I Brothers stand outside their home during a door to door polio vaccine campaign in the Bikordi district in Maroua, Cameroon I 2018



Quantitative data can be useful for tracking changes in empowerment or different elements of empowerment over a period of time, and for monitoring and formal evaluation. For example quantitative methods are particularly useful to analyze variables in large samples, that have been identified through qualitative research.

Quantitative research is also effective at overcoming researcher bias and avoids over-generalizing findings, which can occur through qualitative methods. However, they do not easily answer questions such as ‘why has agency increased/decreased?’ or ‘how have gender norms changed or improved?’. This is why it is important to use a mixed-methods approach for a holistic measurement of empowerment.

There are many additional quantitative data collection methods that are not included in the table below including cohort studies, and case control studies.


Method When to use it Key considerations when using this method to measure empowerment
HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS Surveys are a commonly used method of measurement because they can be used to collect large amounts of quantitative, representative data which can show change over time. Surveys are useful for collecting data on knowledge, attitudes or behaviors. Time use tools can be inserted into household surveys to gather data on time use.
  • The gender of the enumerator is important because of power relations and social norms in different contexts. Women may not be comfortable talking about sensitive issues related to 'bodily integrity with a male enumerator and vice versa. Age of the enumerator may also influence disclosure and quality of data.
  • Make sure that interviewers received adequate training to be able to talk about sensitive issues related to empowerment in ethical and safe ways.
PARTICIPATORY MONITORING Participatory monitoring is an effective method of empowerment measurement because it captures and grounds measurement directly through women and girls understanding of empowerment.
  • Participatory monitoring is most often useful at the formative stage when establishing the results framework, and for developing indicators that are reflective of women and girls' voices.
  • Unless engaged with intentionally, the most marginalized populations can be inadvertently excluded.
COMMUNITY SCORECARD A community scorecard is useful to measure the relations element of the empowerment model. In particular, they can be used to evaluate the impact of service delivery on empowerment from both the user perspective and the service provider. Community scorecards are also useful for gathering data at both the project and community level.
  • Women and girls who do not access services are excluded from a community scorecard method. Consider how to engage those women and girls who have been excluded.
  • Pay attention to group dynamics and consider how to ensure that a diverse range of women and girls voices are represented and heard.
SOCIAL NETWORK ANALYSIS Social network analysis (SNA) is a body of methods developed for analyzing relationships and social capital within a network. It can capture the relations and social capital dimensions of the empowerment model, as well as how these influence the flow of resources, leadership and the reinforcement of norms. SNA is mainly used at the community level, and can also facilitate cross-country comparisons. For this reason, SNA is most useful for impact evaluations to assess changes in social networks.
  • Be aware that this method does not indicate the relative importance of what is shared in networks for women and girls agency or how power flows through networks.
  • This method is accompanied by dedicated software, and so requires skilled implementers with training on SNA software.
  • This method can also be used to analyze big data, such as social media data.


Explore the other methods and approaches via the links below