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.
Interviews are a good means of primary data collection that can be conducted at work, at home or in the streets or even in a shopping centre. On the other hand, observations involve making a record of the behavioral patterns of people, objects as well as events in a systematic manner, and observations may be structured or unstructured methods, disguised or undisguised, natural or contrived, personal, mechanical, non-participant, or participant.
Another method used in primary data collection is that of case studies which generally refers to quite an intensive examination of a person, small groups of persons, or a solitary company. Using case studies, one can measure what is there as well as how it got there, and it can be considered to be historical by nature. Researchers will be able to explore, unravel as well as understand problems, issues as well as relationships.
There are also the diaries, which are a means of collecting information about how individuals spend their time on activities of a professional nature. The use of diaries ignores items such as engagements or personal journals, and concentrates on recording either quantitative or quantitative data or it can be used in management research to make available information about working patterns as well as activities.
A primary data collection method used sometimes is the critical incident techniques that try and identify the more remarkable aspects of job behavior and assumes that jobs are made up of critical as well as non-critical tasks. Finally, portfolios can measure a manager’s ability by being able to express in numbers as well as duration of issues or problems that have been dealt with at a given point of time.
One can compile problem portfolios by recording information about the causes of a problem, methods used to solve it as well as difficulties encountered, and more. All these primary data collection methods may be used depending on individual requirements, and will be sure to provide useful information to researchers and users.