Sunday 5 March 2017

What is “Data Collection”?

What is “Data Collection”?

Data Collection

Data collection is a process of gathering information. It is an important component in any kind of research. The process of data collection brings forth various pool of information and helps the researchers to formulate a notion for a research. Depending on the nature of information to be gathered, different instruments are administered for different data collection process.

The instruments that are employed to collect new information or facts are called tools or research tools. Different tools are used to collect different types of data.

The use of a particular research tool depends on the type of research. The researcher may use one or more of the tools in combination to collect data. Such tools or method of data collection include checklist, tests, interviews, questionnaire, observation, focus groups, etc.


Questionnaire, which was invented by Sir Francis Galton, is a self-report data collection instrument. It consists of a set or series of questions. Each research participants fills out the questionnaire as part of a research study. According to John W. Best, a questionnaire is used when factual information is desired.

The following are the key principles of questionnaire construction:
  1. Make sure the questionnaire items match your research objectives
  2. Understand your research participants.
  3. Use natural and familiar language.
  4. Write items that are clear, precise, and relatively short.
  5. Do not use “leading” or “loaded” questions: [A leading or loaded question biases the response the participant gives to the question. A loaded question is one that contains emotionally charged words (words that create a positive or negative reaction). A leading question is one that is phrased in such a way that it suggests a certain answer. For example, don’t you agree that teachers should earn more money than they currently earn? The options are: (a) Yes, they should earn more (b) No, they should not earn more, (c) Don’t know/no opinion.The phrase “Don’t you agree” leads the participant. A more neutral wording of this question would be as follows: Do you believe teacher salaries are lower than they should be, higher than they should be, or at the right amount? The options are: (a) Teacher salaries are lower than they should be (b) Teacher salaries are higher than they should be (c) Teacher salaries are at the right amount, (d) Don’t know/no opinion.]
  6. Avoid double-barreled questions: [A double-barreled question combines two or more issues or objects in a single item. For example: Do you think that teachers should have more contact with parents and school administrators? You can easily notice that this single item asks about two different issues. The question is indeed asking, “Do you think that teachers should have more contact with parents? and “Do you think that teachers should have more contacts with school administrators? In such a double-barreled question, once someone answers the question, it is impossible for the researcher to know which barrel of the question was answered.]
  7. Avoid double negatives
  8. Determine whether an open-ended or a closed-ended question is needed: [An open-ended question enables participants to respond in any way that they please. Open-ended questions take you into the natural language and worlds of your research participants. Therefore, open-ended questions provide primarily qualitative data. A closed-ended question requires participants to choose from a limited number of responses that are predetermined by the researcher. Closed-ended questions provide primarily quantitative data.]
  9. Use manually exclusive and exhaustive response categories for closed-ended questions.
  10. Consider the different types of response categories available for closed-ended questionnaire items.
  11. Use multiple items to measure abstract constructs.
  12. Consider using multiple methods when measuring abstract constructs.
  13. Use caution if you reverse the wording in some of the items to prevent response sets in multi-item scales.
  14. Develop a questionnaire that is properly organized and easy for the participants to use.

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