Primary data collection methods involve individuals collecting data for themselves using means such as interviews as well as questionnaires. The main feature of primary data collection is that the information that is collected is unique to the individual and his or her research, and is not seen by anyone else until after it has been published. A number of different methods of collecting primary data are used including questionnaires, interviews, focus group interviews, observations, case-studies, diaries, critical incidents as well as portfolios.
Primary data collection using interviews, questionnaires, observations and historical methods may be qualitative in nature or quantitative. Questionnaires are very popular means that are employed to collect data, though designing a good questionnaire may prove to be difficult, and may require a number of rewrites. Interviews are a technique that is employed in order to get an understanding of the reasons as well as motivations behind people’s attitudes, preferences or behaviors. This means of primary data collection can be undertaken on a one-to-one basis or in groups.