Types of Data Collection Methods for Research

Research can be defined as the process of gathering facts and information is a structured manner to understand a subject matter in more depth. Research has always been part and parcel of human interaction as people seek to understand why things are the way they are. If you are looking to conduct a research, you may choose to use an exploratory process to identify and define a particular problem. You also have an option of going for constructive research that you may use to test theories and propose solutions or if you wish to test the feasibility of a solution, you can use an empirical research process.

Depending on the kind of information you require, there are two main types of research methods that you can use to structure your questions, Qualitative and Quantitative methods. Quantitative methods are useful if you wish to collect information in data form and you can use the data to draw conclusions. Qualitative methods have open questions allowing the respondents a chance to give their opinions on the subject matter. Using this method you can get peoples feelings and perceptions about the subject.

Methods of Collecting Data for Research

There are traditional as well as new types of data collection methods that I wish to discuss with you, namely:

  • Surveys – With the right kind of questionnaires, surveys can give you a wealth of information. Depending on your budget and need you may opt for the following. A one-one one survey. While this method is time consuming and costly you are able to get the right information as your research team interact directly with the respondents. The other option involves a telephone survey which is a very fast method of information gathering. However people are now more guarded to responding on the phone due to many unsolicited marketing calls they receive. Mail surveys remain a cheap option for small companies or research staff on a low budget. Mail surveys have a very low response rate since customers have to mail back the questionnaire. An email survey will give you a faster response and has no geographical limits. The only problem is establishing or acquiring an email list for your target audience.
  • Focus groups – This method is useful for an indepth kind of research. If you are looking to unearth matters related to perceptions, then a focus group would be the ideal place to start. This is not an expensive method since you are not required to pay the respondents. The only problem is the sample size which may be considered too small to represent the general public.
  • Personal interviews – Remain a great way to gather information however it is a slow method since one member of your research team can only interview one respondent at a time.
  • Sampling – A good way to get instant feedback form consumers. You may choose to target specific target market where customers they make their purchases. Sampling is a good way to gather information as you will get the first reaction of the potential customers in real time.
  • Research from Literature – If you have been considering doing some historical research that can be found from written material you will be surprised how much information is in our public libraries and on the internet. A simple online search will reveal hundreds of sources that you can choose from.
  • Correlational research – This type of research is used to study the relationship between variables. The researcher may want to find out why particular actions lead to certain outcomes. This research takes time to deliver results.
  • Experimental research – This type of research is used to gauge the effect of a certain treatment on a select group among a number of groups. The group given the separate treatment is observed to establish the change in behavior after the treatment.
  • Design experiments – These are used in actual classrooms to study the effect of certain interventions in the learning environment. The studies are conducted over a long period of time before any noticeable trends are recorded.
  • Microgenetic research – This type of research is carried out on a single person who is observed intensively over a long period of time. This type of research is mostly used to study learning habits based on certain training procedures.

New types of research methods will continue to play a huge role in the development of Science, Education, Brands and other fields. Power will belong to those who are able to understand human behavior and adapt their services and products to suit the emerging trends.

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