There are many things that go into your data collection strategy. It is important that you take the proper steps and think about how you will execute you statistic data collection long before you get started. In many cases people will not completely think their data collection strategy though and it will result in useless data. By having a solid data collection strategy in place before you go to work you will be able to just collect the data and not have to worry about significant corruption from outside influences.
Initial Steps To Planning Your Data Collection Strategy
First off you need to clearly define and outline the scope and goals of your data collection. This is probably the most difficult and most important step of the entire process. I highly recommend taking and scheduling the needed time for this step. A miss here will certainly result in problems down the road.
While you want to go into depth as to what you plan to accomplish, you can over due it and scope out too much. It is a fine line to walk between informative, over written, and under written. Take care to make sure you do include what you want as your results as this will play into your data collection strategy.
The next thing you need to do is outline how you will be collecting the data. This is the crux of your data collection strategy as how you do it will determine what you get out of it. For every project the data collection method will be different and you have to find and use the best method that is appropriate to what you are seeking to accomplish. Whether it is quantitative or qualitative will directly affect the data you receive and how easy it is to interpret and extrapolate.
A quantitative data collection strategy will produce data that is easily readable and transferable, whereas a quantitative one will require a lot more time to sort through and analyze. However there are some times when you need quantitative answers from you subjects. In these cases you need to plan extra time to analyze your data after it has been collected.
Hopefully you now have a good idea of what you have to do to collect your data. I recommend running over your data collection strategy with some of your colleagues to see if they can find any holes in your methods. It is important to get feedback before you start as once you get going it can be very difficult to change directions.