Data collection methods
Data collection refers to the process of collecting and measuring the obtained information with the view of understanding the collected information for specific purposes (Sullivan-Bolyai, Bova, & Singh, 2012). For the purposes of this paper, three methods of data collection are discussed these are; Questionnaires, observations and case studies.
This refers to a systematically arranged questions presented to respondents to gather opinions or facts about a phenomenon. It could be printed or written and is mostly used when a researcher wants to easily and quickly get more information from a population in a way that does not sound threatening to them. Parole board of Canada used questionnaire on its research titled “Research report: 2009 victim questionnaire results”. The research aimed at finding out the effectiveness of CSC and PBC in meeting the information needs of the victims (Beauchamp, & Hys, 2009). The questionnaires helped in evaluating the satisfaction levels of the victims and make out areas that necessitate upgrading.
The respondents can fill-up the questionnaire and still remain anonymous. The paperwork of a questionnaire is not expensive as compared to other methods. It can also be administered to a large group at once, hence, collecting lots of data. The researcher can adapt the preference of the respondent by having verbal, paper or online questionnaires. It can save time because in most cases, samples of questionnaires already exist and only need to be adapted to the research questions.
Questionnaires sometimes fail to give the researcher accurate feedback. The wording of questions could lead to biasness from the respondents. One is not assured of getting the full story with this method. When one decides to adapt the existing surveys, he might miss the point and ask irrelevant questions, thus, time wasting.
The process used by researchers to observe something or someone keenly to gain specific information for the purposes of a research work. Brings together accurate information on how processes operate (Iacono, Brown, & Holtham, 2009. An illustration of a peer reviewed work where observation is used is titled “Research methods- a case example of participant observation”. The study sought to assess the limitations and benefits of participant observation. It also offered guidance on managing challenges faced when using observation.
It enables a researcher to adapt to an event or circumstances faster. He could also observe operations as they actually happen.
Some observed events could be hard to interpret. Categorizing the observed processes could be difficult. A researcher could be swayed by the observation and give biased response. Observation as a method of data collection could be costly in many occasions.
This is where a researcher carefully analyzes something or an occurrence with the intention of illustrating a principle or a thesis (Cedillo Torres, et al., (2012). It enables a researcher to fully comprehend experiences of comparable cases. An example of a case study is found on the ultra tech law review website. The author wanted to find out if conflicts affect a company’s policy on corporate social responsibility. It is titled “four cases studies on corporate social responsibility: Do conflict affect a company’s corporate social responsibility policy?” The method was used to compare cases to find out the common features on their policies.
It gives enough experience to enable a person understand the inputs, processes and outcomes of strategy. It acts as the most powerful way to bring out the bigger picture to outsiders.
Gathering, organization, and narration are time consuming. In most cases, it covers the intensity of the information required and not its wideness.
Beauchamp, T. & Hys, D. (2009). “Research report: 2009 victim questionnaire results”. Parole board of Canada.4-87
Cedillo Torres, C. A., Garcia-French, M., Hordijk, R., Nguyen, K., & Olup, L. (2012). Four Case Studies on Corporate Social Responsibility: Do Conflicts Affect a Company’s Corporate Social Responsibility Policy?Utrecht Law Review, 8(3), 51-73.
Iacono, J., Brown, A., & Holtham, C. (2009). Research methods–A case example of participant observation. Electronic journal of business research methods, 7(1), 39-46.
Sullivan-Bolyai, S., Bova, C., & Singh, M. D. (2012). Data-collection methods. Nursing Research in Canada: Methods, Critical Appraisal, and Utilization, 287.