Data Collection Guide For Better Outcomes.

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We are living in time that requires more excellent connectivity between organizations and their clients. Those include their customers, users of their commodities, employees working in their firms, vendors roaming around streets, and business competitors. Information delimits can these relationships, allowing organizations to grow bigger and better. This information is collected using various data collection methods listed below.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative data collection methods

Quantitative analysis data collection methods involved assigning numerical values to the responses, the process in which empirical observations will be made and recorded. On the other hand, in qualitative analysis, the information gathered will be structured along with themes or categories as they occur in the questions. These allow for coding of the data for easy review.

Data collection methods under review

  1. Questionnaires
  2. Interviews
  3. Observation checklist

1.Questionnaires

What is a Questionnaire?

A questionnaire is defined as a data collection method that comprises a written list of questions aiming to collect data from a respondent.

Questionnaire Examples

Some examples of a questionnaire are:

  • Customer Satisfaction Questionnaire
  • Product Use Satisfaction Questionnaire
  • Company Communications Evaluation Questionnaire

Characteristics of a good questionnaire

  • Uniformity
  • Exploratory
  • Question Sequence

Types of questionnaires

Structured Questionnaires: these records in detail, quantitative data for numerical evaluation.

Unstructured Questionnaires: these usually used to collect qualitative data for more significant analysis.

The genre of questions usually found in a questionnaire.

  • Open-Ended Questions
  • Dichotomous Questions
  • Multiple-Choice Questions
  • Scaling Questions
  • Pictorial Questions

The administration and distribution of questionnaires can be in the following ways.

  • Online Questionnaire:
  • Telephone Questionnaire:
  • In-House Questionnaire:
  • Mail Questionnaire:

Advantages of Questionnaires

  • An economical method of research with very minimal costs
  • They are scalable
  • Information can be tallied and compared.
  • Freedom from the interviewer’s bias as answers will be in the respondent’s own words.
  • The items generated for the study will be both open and close-ended types.
  • The open-ended items give the respondents greater freedom of expressing their ideas and opinions and offer suggestions where necessary.
  • Semi-structured (open-ended) questions elicit a lot of useful qualitative data.
  • The close-ended items enable the investigator to obtain specific responses from the respondents.
  • Questionnaires generally used to collect information that will not be directly observable as they inquire about feelings, motivation, attitudes, accomplishments, and experiences of individuals.

Disadvantages of Questionnaires

  • Fraudulent answers are a norm in questionnaires
  • Respondents have the freedom to choose and leave specific crucial questions
  • Understanding and analysis may vary with individuals
  • Emotions and feelings are not inclusive
  • Issues may be challenging to evaluate for the respondents.
  • Personalization is out of the question.

Interview

An interview is a goal-driven and focused dialogue between two or more individuals characterized by questions from the interviewer and answers from the interviewee, in an evident structure, with highly coordinated control.

It is essential to any research that the researcher asks questions relevant to his or her participant’s experiences and allows them to discuss aspects that will be important to them. Individuals who are familiar with the topic being studied will give the best information to the interviewer.

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Interviews give room for the interviewer to;

  • Simplify questions even in vernacular form, creating a friendly environment for respondents.
  • The researcher can probe the interviewee for clarifications and elaborations.
  • The researcher can also analyze the respondent’s gestures as the interview progresses.

Advantages

  • Highly accurate screening of the interviewees
  • Capture the verbal and non-verbal cues and facial gestures
  • Keep focus and on track
  • Capture emotions and behaviors.

Disadvantages

  • High Cost.
  • Quality of data by an interviewer.
  • Manual data entry.
  • Limit sample size.

Observation Checklist

The observation checklist contains possible features visibly identifiable. The investigator indicates by ticking appropriately, the features available in the area under study. The researcher will collect more information and counter-check information acquired from questionnaires in the area under survey through observation.

By nature, observations have the following attributes

  • Systematic analysis
  • Specific detailing of events and study results
  • Objective research
  • Quantitative analysis and design
  • Eye affair and visualization
  • Timeous recording

Advantages

  • A direct way of data accumulation especially when studying human behavior
  • Accuracy level is very high with valuable reliability
  • The precision of the data collected is enhanced.
  • Independent analysis with little bias toward respondents.
  • Facial gestures can be decoded and verbal responses analyzed
  • Technology has made it easier with the advent of the camera and the phone camcorders for continuity in analysis with little time limits.

Disadvantages

  • Works more in the present than the antique history that may need
  • Limited to the available evidence, which may be influenced by unseen forces.
  • Camcorders and other technological devices are costly
  • Opinions, in this case, will be omitted
  • Attitudes will be studied with limited acuity and precision
  • Sampling is out of the question
  • Time-consuming in many cases

Data Collection Methods Validity

Validity is the extent to which results from various data collection methods obtained after data analysis will represent the idea being researched. Piloting should be done to check the questionnaires on content, structure, sequence, meaning, and an ambiguity of questions.

Content validity will be to some great measure ascertained by giving out instruments to professionals such as the researcher’s supervisors and colleagues to determine whether the instruments did measure what they purported to measure.

Data Collection Methods Reliability

Reliability can be defined as a measure of the extent to which data collection methods yield consistent results. The more reliable an instrument will be, the more consistent the measure. The researcher purposefully has to identify one area to test the questionnaires’ reliability through test-retest techniques.

In the case of misunderstandings or failure to generate results towards the study’s purpose, the affected questionnaire has to be revised.

Data Collection Methods Sampling techniques and sample procedures

Sampling is defined as a means of selecting a given number of subjects from a defined population as a representation of that population. For example, when researching a geography lesson teaching technique, Sampling will be used to identify one school among the numerous secondary schools. Simple random sampling will be used on Form four geography students to get the respondents to fill the questionnaires.

The criteria for selecting geography teachers in this case scenario will be purposive, where there will be more than one stream, professional experience will be needed as a criterion for the selection of the teachers. The analysis will, however, based on the students and teachers who participated, respectively. This will be done to enhance reliability. Gender sensitivity is always crucial in ensuring inclusivity in all researches. The researcher will have to ensure gender balance by selecting an equal number of boys and girls per class through random sampling that adapts.

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Data collection procedures

Mugenda and Mugenda (2003), in their book, stated some considerations worth put into practice by the researcher and the respondents during data collection. For instance, during the research process, the researcher will not ignore pertinent issues.

  • He has also to express design in his study as well as value the use of his tests.
  • The researcher should avoid misusing the privileges accorded to him in data collection.
  • Again, cases of anonymity and financial issues will be exclusively not allowed to preserve the respondents.
  • Finally, dissemination of findings and any academic freedom whatsoever will be fundamental with the researcher and not shared anyhow with the respondents.

The researcher or his or her aides have to personally administer the questionnaires whose details will be filled in within a seating as provided for by each independent respondent visited by the researcher. The observation schedule will also be administered on the sampled school before actual data collection to provide first-hand information to the researcher on the resources within the environment of the areas identified for the study.

Data analysis techniques

The data will be gathered, validated, edited, and then coded, which consists of qualitative and quantitative data. The analysis can be calculated by the use of the statistical packages and includes frequencies, standard deviation, means, and percentages.

Case to consider

Let us take this case into considerations. When researching on the use of GIS in geography lessons in schools, to establish the relationship between GIS-based applications and performance, the frequencies will get derived from students’ and teachers’ responses. For instance;

  • Utilization of GIS-based lesson will be considered commonly used if half (50%) or more of respondents, respond to it as occurring “very often” or “strongly agree.”
  • If 50% or more of respondents respond to it as “rarely” or “never” or elsewhere “strongly disagree” or “disagree,” it constitutes commonly not being applicable.

From this measurement, a four-point Likert scale will be used, respectively.

Another scale used will be a rank order scale, where respondents rank methods they use in teaching geography according to their preference from highest to lowest. Lastly, the percentage will be calculated by establishing the number of respondents per process (frequency) and dividing them by the total number of responses and then multiplying by 100%. The analysis will be done as per the study’s objectives, and this will be in terms of discussions or tabulations using descriptive statistics and tables.

Data Collection and Ethical Review Procedures

The researcher should follow ethical review approval, as outlined below.

  • Each participant will be given a letter of consent before participating in the interview;
  • They will be required to read and sign it.
  • A copy of the form will be given to each participant, and keep another copy for records. Participants will get treated with respect throughout the interview, and
  • Be made to feel as comfortable and possible.
  • Participants will get informed that they do not have to answer any question that they did not feel comfortable responding to.
  • Participants will get informed of who sees the data and will get assured that it is safely stored, unreachable place on his computer with a password required to access the documents.

In Short

As data collection in research has been detailed in this post, it is crucial to use the best data collection method. When follow this guide in any study that is to be done by organizations, you will be assured to obtain best outcomes.

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