The method you choose to collect data depends on your research aim and the information you want to obtain from the participants in your study. Once you’ve figured out what type of research method would work best, you can easily plan how to gather the information that will answer your research questions and allow you to make important decisions as soon as possible. Check out this step-by-step guide on sharing and reusing data to get started today.
1) Define the Aim of Your Research
Your problem statement can help you formulate research questions, define your data gathering description methods, and test a hypothesis. When choosing what type of research to do, it’s important to understand that there are two main types: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research uses words (interviews), pictures (images), or symbols (videos) primarily to collect data. Quantitative research uses numbers and measurement scales primarily to collect data.
2) Determine Whether Or Not It Is Possible To Share The Data
If you’re working on a personal project, it may be possible to share your data with other researchers. If you have a contract with an organization or company that has strict sharing policies in place, you may not be able to share your data. Likewise, suppose you’re using sensitive information that isn’t safe for sharing (such as patient records). In that case, it is important to determine whether or not such research can legally take place in your jurisdiction.
3) Choose Your Data Collection Method
The first part of data collection is choosing a method. It’s important to note that there is no single right way to collect data. Instead, consider your research goals and subject matter. Also think about your available resources, when deciding on a sampling method. For example, you may want to study an existing system or phenomenon. In that case, you need to conduct secondary research or access archives. To do this, many use interviews and surveys in experimental research.
4) Plan Your Data Collection Procedures
Before you do anything, make sure you have a plan of action. Without one, you’ll just be flailing around aimlessly and gathering data that will get you nowhere. First, define your research aims. Then choose a sampling method that will help you answer your research question accurately. Next, you can design procedures for data collection- what variables will you include? What instrumentation will you need to use? How will participants be chosen and recruited?
After you’ve decided on sample size, you need to make sure that you standardize every other factor in your experiment. This includes experimental design, procedures, and data management plan. You must standardize these factors so that your research findings are scientifically valid and replicable. Once you’ve done all of that, it’s time to collect your data. While there are many different methods for collecting data from participants, each method has its own benefits and drawbacks.
5) Collect Your Data
When collecting data, always ensure that you collect only high-quality data. Record all relevant information and ask for clarification if necessary—double-check manual data entry to eliminate errors at this stage. Finally, make sure you keep everything organized by labeling documents clearly.
Researchers may use two methods of sampling: probability sampling or non-probability sampling. Non-probability sampling methods are best suited for qualitative research because they allow you to choose subjects based on their relevance to a topic rather than statistical randomness. It also allows researchers not to worry about an adequate sample size. There are different ways of collecting data with different levels of effectiveness depending on what your particular needs are.
6) Frequently Asked Questions About Data Collection
1. What is Operationalization?
Answer: According to Thomas (2010), operationalization is the process of defining a concept in terms of specific measurement procedures. It occurs in both qualitative and quantitative research, although it is probably more important in quantitative studies.
2. How do you assess the test validity of your measures?
Answer: According to Ledingham, Cossar, and McIntyre (2008), test validity has three dimensions: content validity, construct validity, and criterion-related validity.
3. Do you need specialized software to secure collected data?
Answer: According to Egnyte Data Collection Specialists, “The levels of security should be commensurate with the sensitivity of the data. Data collection efforts can be compromised by inappropriate or unauthorized access. “
To ensure trust and validity in your data, it’s important to share and reuse your data. Once you’ve collected your data, you can use it again to build upon or expand your research project.