Data Gathering Techniques, Tools and Important Guidance
The underlying need for gathering research datais to capture all necessary information to solve research questions. Moreover, it is the pattern and themes in data that help researchers in decision making. As data is important for research, likewise, the techniques and tools are important to sort and collect information about a specific study. Therefore, this article will be a complete guide regarding data gathering techniques and devices/ instruments important for each technique.
What are the 5 data gathering techniques?
Social sciences research mostly aims to solve human-related problems for ensuring a better future for them. Some researchers want to make a good society, while others’ purpose is to predict the effect of a policy and program on both genders in society. In all cases, the data relevant to a given study can be gathered by five important data gathering techniques involving observation, survey, focused groups, interviews, and case studies. Let us talk about each of them for developing a better understanding.
Observation is an important data gathering technique to collect both qualitative as well as quantitative data. In simple words, in observations, we use five senses to record and gather data to create a scientific story. In many types of research, the observers, by using any of the five senses, take reading either in textual or numerical form. The methods to record the data, in this case, include imaging, videography, recordings, and many others.
The observation is a method to gather direct data for proceeding towards successful research. But in many cases, personal errors and biasness are associated with the data gathered by observation. The observers’ calmness, patience and challenge-taking abilities have great effects on this type of data gathering technique.
The interview is a very popular and extensively used data-gathering technique in social sciences. This technique, in another sense, is an oral questionnaire. Here, instead of writing the participant’s responses, face to face interviews are conducted to record the answers. As compared to any other type of data collection, the interviews are a more flexible tool that permits explanation and adjustment according to conditions. In this method, the interviewer can directly contact with the participants to gather the most relevant data and solve a scientific query. Moreover, the importance of interviews in research is due to the fact that it allows two-way communication. It gives rights to the participants to question the interviewer as well. Therefore, interviews are a practical and credible data-gathering technique that ensures quality data collection. In case of any issue, you can get dissertation proposal writing services from experts.
Questionnaires are the most popular data-gathering technique that aims to collect a broad range of data without costing too much. In other words, students often prefer this type of data collection method as it is easy to construct and does not want students to travel in far off places to collect data. Surveys and questionnaires can equally be beneficial to collect both qualitative and quantitative types of data. The open-ended questionnaires are good for collecting qualitative or contextual data. In the same sense, the Likert scale with a few specific categories is good for quantitative data assemblage. Moreover, the surveys are good to explore slow processes and to monitor the changes over time. Another benefit of using surveys in research is that they are easy to understand and take less time to solve as compared to questionnaires. Consequently, the survey and questionnaire both are widely used data gathering techniques in social sciences.
Whenever you want to know everything about a condition, person, disease, or organizational policies, a case study proves an effective data gathering technique for all. According to a Biesanz, the case study is a method of qualitative analysis that provides complete information about a person, situation and institute.In a variety of disciplines, including psychology, medicine, political sciences and even anthropology, the case study is a most sought after data gathering or problem-solving technique.
The focused group is the one that collectively deals with the group of people that have something in common. The results obtained from this data gathering technique is quite similar to those obtained through personal interviews. Furthermore, the inclusion of the social elements and the deep understanding of the facts like why people behave and think in a particular way are some specialities of the focused groups.
What are the data gathering tools?
Data collection is an important step in a research process. Students have to decide which data-gathering technique will be more suitable according to the nature of the study. After the selection of the data, the next process must be to select a data-gathering tool. In simple words, the data collection or gathering tools are the instruments or devices to gather a specific type of data. Depending upon the type of data gathering technique selected for research, the tools are of various types.
The tools someone uses for collecting data for the case study are not likely important for the survey. The data collection tools for surveys may prove useless for the observation and so on. In short, every data collection type has its own set of devices and tools to collect data. Data collection tools for observation include a checklist and five senses. The best tools for focused groups involve two-way and Duelling- Moderator. The effective tools for collecting data from secondary sources are Research Journals, Field Specific Databases and Surveys. In the same way, data collection tools for structuring questionnaires are paper questionnaires and online questionnaires. Besides, the top tools for collecting data for interviews are cameras, videos recorders, and camcorder.
Researches, irrespective of its purpose, need to analyse data and predict underlying patterns that we later use to solve a scientific problem. In simple words, if we say the data is a fundamental element of research, it would not be wrong. But research is a complex process that needs data to be gathered, analysed and interpreted to draw conclusions. Therefore, the above five data gathering techniques and their respective tools are versatile enough to solve all scientific queries.