Data Collection Techniques

Research is widely used by professionals in almost all sectors of the industry; be it business, manufacturing, medical, education, etc. To carry out a thorough research, you need to follow some essential steps with regards to the collection of data. And when it come to research as a whole, data collection techniques are important aspects to be considered. Data collection is a method in which information related to the study is gathered by suitable mediums.

Types of Data in Research

The types of data are basically classified on the basis of their collection methods and their characteristics. Primary data is that which is collected first hand by the researcher himself, without relying on any kind of pre-researched information. Common techniques are interviews and questionnaires. On the other hand, secondary data is that which is collected from other means, instead of the researcher’s. Few examples of secondary data include government census and company surveys.

Data classification in also made on the basis of attributes of the data; namely qualitative and quantitative. The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is that the former one relates to data that is descriptive in nature and does not involve numbers and statistics. Whereas, the latter is the data which is numerical and has a lot to do with numbers and figures. A good researcher will always back up qualitative data with quantitative data.

Data Collection Techniques in Research

Personal Interviews
Conducting personal interviews is probably the best method of data collection to gain first hand information. It is however, unsuitable in cases where there are many people to be interviewed and questioned.

Questionnaires
Questionnaires are good methods of data collection when there is a need for a particular class of people to be questioned. The researcher can prepare a questionnaire according to the data he requires and send it to the responders.

Detailed Observation
Data can also most effectively be obtained with means of observational skills. The researcher can visit a place and take down details of all that he observes which is actually required for aiding in his research. Here, the researcher has to make sure that what he is observing is real.

Group Discussions
Group discussions are good techniques where the researcher has to know what the people in a group think. He can come to a conclusion based on the group discussion which may even involve good debate topics of research.

Internet Data
The Internet is an ocean of data, where you can get a substantial amount of information for research. However, researchers need to remember that they should depend on reliable sources on the web for accurate information.

Books and Guides
These data collection techniques are the most traditional ones that are still used in today’s research. Unlike the Internet, it is sure that you will get good and accurate information from books and published guides.

Using Experiments
Sometimes, for obtaining the full understanding of the scenario, researchers have to conduct actual experiments on the field. Research experiments are usually carried out in fields such as science and manufacturing. This is the best method for gaining an in-depth understanding of the subject related to the research.

There are many other methods of data collection which may help the researcher to draw statistical as well as conceptual conclusions.

by Stephen Rampur.

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