Factors to Be Considered by Researchers When Defining Data Collection

Topics: Quantitative research, Scientific method, Sampling Pages: 9 (3049 words) Published: May 10, 2011

Data are materials or information gathered during the process of making inquiry about problems. “Data of whatever form do not just appear or lie around waiting to be causally picked up by some passing researcher but have to be given form and shape in other to quantify as data; made relevant in a word to a research problem” (Ackryod and Hughes, 1992). In other words, data are systematically collected groups of information that represent either qualitative or quantitative results. “From the point of view of social research, the world only exist as data and data can exist only through the interpretations placed on materials gathered from the world”(Williams and May,1996).

This essay question will be looking at factors that should be considered to define data of a study. Looking at two empirical researches based on injecting drug users

Study 1 looked at a community based cross-sectional survey among out of treatment male opiate injecting drug users (IDU) between ages 15 to 45. Data on nonfatal overdose were collected using a semi-structured questionnaire from 299 IDU from two district of Bac Ninh in North Vietnam in 2003.

Study 2 examines the range of HCV services that treatment programs provide to their HCV positive clients using data collected from 233 drug free and methadone maintenance treatment programs (MMTPS) throughout the united state. Although findings indicated that MMTPS offer more HCV services to more of their HCV positive clients than drug free programs, but drug free programs provided more individualized services.

Researchers are people that make inquiry into things that are obscure to human and tend to find possible solutions to this problem. They must put some factors into consideration to determine the type of data to be collected such as: aims and objectives of the research, research design, sampling strategies, methods research strategy, data collection technique, reliability, validity and ethics of the research.

“The research process usually begins with the theoretical perception or formulation of the research topic” (Sarantakos, 2005). According to Gilbert (2001) theoretical perspective are not just important as elements of good research practice, but also enormous value in inspiring and stimulating us to ask new question. This is also supported by Ackroyd and Hughes (1992) saying theory is a veritable feast of notions, viewpoints, perspectives, abstractions and ideas which plays different roles in sociological enquiry. Theory gives explanation on something that one would find difficult to understand. “Theories ought to be firmly based on data if they are to be useful in understanding social world” (Gilbert, 2001). Theory could be generated deductively or inductively. Gilbert (2001) said that inductive theory has to do with moving from a known knowledge to unknown, quantitative research makes use of this while deductive theory begins with a theory and use it to explain an observation, qualitative research makes use of this. Study 2 hypothesized that because MMTPs serve a greater portion of IDUs than drug free programs, it is expected that it will offer more comprehensive services for their HCV positive clients. The two articles made use of an inductive theory because they both used quantitative method

Aims and objectives of the research is also another factor that determines data collection. “The aims and methods of research is to put links between the empirical world and theoretical perception” (Ackryod and Hughes, 1992).

For example, the aims and objectives of the study 1 were to evaluate the effectiveness of a peer network intervention in reducing HIV and STD transmission and to assess the prevalence and characteristics associated with non-fatal drug overdose among IDUs between 18-45 years in North Vietnam. Here, the researcher is interested in knowing the features and the total...
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