Research can provide important information to businesses, science and education, but this research must be conducted according to sound principles or it will be a waste of time and money. The research collected must be done using effective data collection methods to insure that the research is based on accurate, valid information.
Researchers have studied and provided information on data collection methods, and the information these researchers have collected should guide all other researchers in their data collection methods. The data collection methods that are proven to be effective will assist researchers greatly in their quest for success.
There are a variety of valid data collection methods that researchers should use in their study. The data collection methods should be used to prepare research tools and then these research tools should be used in appropriate settings to collect the information. The preparation for use of data collection methods should be done in a highly organized way as should the entire research project.
Data collection methods include, but are not limited to, the following: 1) written questionnaires, 2) personal interviews, 3) observations, 4) gleaning insight from available data, and 5) discussions with an appropriate group.
Rules for Effective Data Collection Methods
Written questionnaires can be used for data collection. These tools can be distributed in person, via the postal service or in a meeting of a select group of participants. The written questions in these instruments must be carefully crafted so they are culture fair and clear. These instruments must be written so they get the desired information. Personal interviews can be used to collect data for research projects.
These interviews should be conducted with people that will have information that is relevant to the study. The interviews should be carefully structured to extract the desired information from the people that are interviewed.
Observations can be used to collect information for research studies and data analysis. The observations should be made by qualified people with controlled objectives for each set of observations. The observations should be made in settings that will not influence the conduct of the observations or contaminate the observations in any way. Discussions with a specific group of people can provide valuable data to researchers.
The people involved in these discussions should be people that will provide valuable information to the researchers. Data that was previously collected can be used to arrive at fresh conclusions. Many research studies have a specific goal, but the information collected to reach this goal may also provide information that will help researchers reach other conclusions.