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Last Updated: November, 2021

Telling a clear and defensible story with your insights is essential to transforming data into meaningful action. To be able to do this within the timeframe of your project, it helps to clearly identify your goals and draw a line from your intended outcomes down to the design of your research methods.

We use this style of data synthesis plan during the Discover phase of our work to begin to nurture stakeholder commitment and inform the course of the project. We have combined insights from across our work – Community Engagement, Program & Service Design, Research & Evaluation – to create a resource that is general enough to apply to most types of projects.

Feel free to add and delete prompts to suit your needs.

Usage Tips

Recommended Roles: ~2 Co-Designers 

  • Initial Setup: 1-2 Hours

Facilitation Tips:

  • This is a working document that will be updated over the course of your research and report-building.
  • Share with the full project team to ensure alignment across the research goals and the intended outcomes for your insights.
  • Solicit feedback from a sample of trusted stakeholders who are (or are representative of) the intended audience to validate the approach. Revise accordingly.

Next Steps: If you’re using this tool for your own discovery process, consider what key decisions will be made after you’ve presented your findings. Next steps could include getting buy-in from key stakeholders to pursue further investment, developing design principles for product development, or defining key priorities for future research. Data synthesis has the potential to go beyond descriptive purposes, and even spur direct action in response to findings.


This resource was co-designed by numerous team members, including: Leah Tremblay-Adams, Lawrence Grodeska, Cristelle Blackford, Mike King, and Victor Tran.


Creative Commons LicenseThis work by CivicMakers, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format for noncommercial purposes only, and only so long as attribution is given to the creator.