Methods of Data Collection

Topics: Scientific method, Quantitative research, Qualitative research Pages: 7 (2025 words) Published: February 6, 2013





STUDENT NO:12500151


Data Collection is an important aspect of any type of research study. Inaccurate data collection can impact the results of a study and ultimately lead to invalid results. Data collection methods for impact evaluation vary along a continuum. At the one end of this continuum are quantitative methods and at the other end of the continuum are qualitative methods for data collection. Bakhtadze (2012:82) ‘When you have decided on a topic, refined it and specified objectives, you start considering the ways of collecting the evidence you require. The initial question that guides you is: “What do I need to know to answer my research problem? Why do I need it?” After you have answered the question you start choosing the best ways of collecting information. Researchers next decide how they are going to collect their empirical research data. That is they decide what method of data collection (test, questionnaires, focus group, observation, interviews) they are going to use to physically obtain research data from their research participants.’ University of Wilconsin (2012)The Quantitative data collection methods, rely on random sampling and structured data collection instruments that fit diverse experiences into predetermined response categories. They produce results that are easy to summarize, compare, and generalize.  Quantitative research is concerned with testing hypotheses derived from theory and/or being able to estimate the size of a phenomenon of interest.  Depending on the research question, participants may be randomly assigned to different treatments.  If this is not feasible, the researcher may collect data on participant and situational characteristics in order to statistically control for their influence on the dependent, or outcome, variable. If the intent is to generalize from the research participants to a larger population, the researcher will employ probability sampling to select participants.  Typical quantitative data gathering strategies include:

* Experiments/clinical trials.
* Observing and recording well-defined events (e.g., counting the number of patients waiting in emergency at specified times of the day). * Obtaining relevant data from management information systems. * Administering surveys with closed-ended questions (e.g., face-to face and telephone interviews, questionnaires etc). Wikipedia (2012) In statistics, survey methodology is the field that studies the sampling of individuals from a population with a view towards making statistical inferences about the population using the sample. Polls about public opinion, such as political beliefs, are reported in the news media in democracies. Other types of survey are used for scientific purposes. Surveys provide important information for all kinds of research fields, e.g., marketing research, psychology, health professionals and sociology. A survey may focus on different topics such as preferences (e.g., for a presidential candidate), behavior (smoking and drinking behavior), or factual information (e.g., income), depending on its purpose. Since survey research is always based on a sample of the population, the success of the research is dependent on the representativeness of the population of concern. Survey methodology seeks to identify principles about the design, collection, processing, and analysis of surveys in connection to the cost and quality of survey estimates. It focuses on improving quality within cost constraints, or alternatively, reducing costs for a fixed level of quality. Survey methodology is both a scientific field and a profession. Part of the task of a survey methodologist is making a large set of decisions about thousands of individual features of a survey in order to...
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