1. Data Collection Methods
For NTA Level 06
Facilitated by Mr. Utonga D. M
Tengeru Institute of Community Development
2018/2019 Academic Year in SE 01
2. Definitions of Data
Meaning of Data
The term data is similarly defined by different authorities
Cambridge Dictionary defines data as information, especially
facts or numbers, collected to be examined and considered and used
to help decision-making.
Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines data as factual
information (such as measurements or statistics) used as a basis for
reasoning, discussion, or calculation.
Oxford Dictionary defines data as Facts and statistics collected
together for reference or analysis.
3. Types of Data
Fundamentally, there are two types of data:-
Quantitative Data – Type of data which deal with numbers
which are measurable such as height, weight, length of the animals,
Qualitative Data – Type of data which deal with descriptions
such as by words, images, observations, conversations,
Literally, data in research are often discussed in terms of variables
where a variable is regarded as any characteristic that varies from
one member of a population to another.
4. Categories of Data
Basically, there are two categories of data:- Primary and
Primary data is the one that is observed or collected directly from
first-hand experience. It is obtained directly from the subjects of
Published data and the data collected in the past or other parties is
called secondary data.
The category of data researchers choose can depend on many
things including the research question, time, their budget, their
skills and available resources. Based on these and other factors,
they may choose to use either primary data or secondary data or
5. Sources of Data
Basically, there are two sources of data i.e. Primary and
Secondary. However, there may be a tertiary source
These are used to collect afresh and the first time data, and
thus happen to be original data in character.
These are those sources which offer access to data that
have already been collected by someone and have already
been passed through the statistical process.
6. Sources of Primary Data
A primary source of data is an original data source, that is,
one in which the data are collected firsthand by the researcher
for a specific research purpose.
Data from this source can be collected in a number of ways.
However, the most common techniques are self-administered
surveys, interviews, field observation, and experiments.
Primary data collection is quite expensive and time
consuming compared to secondary data collection.
Notwithstanding, primary data collection may be the only
suitable method for some types of research.
7. Sources of Primary Data
Primary source is an original source that documents an event
in time, a person or an idea.
Some examples of primary sources are:
original research (journal articles, books)
diary entries, letters and other correspondence
audio or video broadcasts
eyewitness accounts or interviews
legal documents, government documents, public records (e.g. birth
records or other documents created by organizations
8. Sources of Secondary Data
Secondary sources is built upon primary resources by analyzing,
interpreting, synthesizing or discussing them.
Examples would be:
Journal articles (that do not provide original research)
A good way to determine whether or not a source you are
evaluating is primary or secondary in nature is to ask
yourself: "Is this 'first-hand' information or 'second-hand'
If you said 'first-hand' then it is likely a primary source. If you said
'second-hand', then it's likely a secondary source.
9. Procedures for Data Collection
Planning for data collection before it is actually collected is
important. Having appropriate answer from these questions can yield
How is the data collected?
When is the data collected?
Who is responsible for collecting and recording the data?
Where is the collected data stored?
How do we ensure that the data is correct?
10. Data Collection Methods
There is a number data collection techniques. Each
method/technique has advantages and disadvantages. No single
method can fully measure the variable of concern in research.
For the sake of this discussion, we will discuss the following
Questionnaire and Schedules
Interview/Focus Group Discussion
It should be understood that these provide a means through which
data are gathered by a researcher. The most known methods are;-
Questionnaire, Interview and Observation Methods.
11. Data Collection by Questionnaire
A questionnaire is a tool consists of a number of questions printed
or typed in a definite order on a form or set of forms.
The questionnaire is mailed/sent to respondents who are expected
to read and understand the questions and write down the reply in the
space meant for the purpose in the questionnaire itself.
The respondents have to answer the questions on their own.
There is structured, semi-structured and unstructured types of
12. Advantages of Questionnaire Method
It is free from the bias of the interviewer.
Respondents have adequate time to give well thought out answers.
Respondents, who are not easily approachable, can also be reached conveniently.
Large samples can be made use of and thus the results can be made more
dependable and reliable.
13. Disadvantages of Questionnaire Method
Low rate of return of the duly filled in questionnaires
It can be used only when respondents are educated and cooperating.
The control over questionnaire may be lost once it is sent.
There is inbuilt inflexibility because of the difficulty of amending the approach
once questionnaires have been dispatched.
Ambiguity of replies or omission of replies.
It is difficult to know whether willing respondents are truly representative.
This method is likely to be the slowest of all
14. Data Collection by Interview
This method involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply
in terms of oral-verbal responses. An interview is a conversation
for gathering information.
A research interview involves an interviewer, who coordinates the
process of the conversation and asks questions, and an
interviewee, who responds to those questions. Interviews can be
conducted face-to-face or over the telephone.
Interview can be grouped into three types:
15. Advantages of Interview Method
More information and that too in greater depth can be obtained.
Interviewer by his/her own skill can overcome the resistance
Allows flexibility to restructure questions
Observation method can as well be applied to recording verbal
answers to various questions.
Personal information can as well be obtained easily under this
no difficulty of the missing returns; non-response generally
remains very low.
The interviewer can usually control which person(s) will answer
16. Disadvantages of Interview Method
It is a very expensive
There remains the possibility of the bias of interviewer
as well as that of the respondent;
Certain types of respondents may not be easily
This method is relatively more-time-consuming
The presence of the interviewer on the spot may over-
stimulate the respondent
17. Data Collection by Focus Group
A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) is a data collection technique
in which a selected group of people discusses a given topic or
issue in-depth, facilitated by a professional, external moderator.
This method serves to solicit participants’ attitudes and
perceptions, knowledge and experiences, and practices, shared
in the course of interaction with different people.
The technique is based upon the assumption that the group
processes activated during an FGD help to identify and clarify
shared knowledge among groups and communities, which
would otherwise be difficult to obtain with a series of
18. Data collection by Observation
It is a way of collecting data through observing. Under the
observation method, the information is sought by way of
investigator’s own direct observation without asking from the
This can be structured observation or unstructured observation or
participant or non-participant observation or controlled or
Advantage of this method is that it is unbiased, the information obtained under this
method relates to what is currently happening, and independent of respondents’
willingness to respond and as such is relatively less demanding of active cooperation on
the part of respondents.
Limitations: it is an expensive method, the information provided by this method is very
limited and,unforeseen factors may interfere with the observational task.
19. Data collection by Document
Document analysis refers to the technique in which documents are
interpreted by the researcher to give voice and a reasonable
meaning on a certain matter of concern.
Analyzing documents incorporates coding content into themes
similar to how focus group or interview transcripts are analyzed.
Document analysis can serve as either a stand-alone data-
collection procedure or as a precursor to collecting new data.
Document analysis can be conducted through data produced by :-
organizations, individuals, Publications, Secondary data, and
20. Data collection Tools/Instruments
Instrument or a tool is described as a device used to
collect the data which facilitates variable observation
The type of instrument used by the researcher depends
on the data collection method selected. The instruments
which are used to gather data, among others, are:-
Questionnaires and Photographs,
Observation and experimental approach
Interview Guide and survey
Records and checklists, etc
21. Ethical considerations for data
Professions are guided by a code of ethics to accommodate the
changing values, needs and expectations of those who hold a stake
in the profession.
Professions have an overall code of conduct that also govern the
way they carryout research. So the same applies to research
methods although the code conduct is not followed.
It is upon the individual to follow the code. For academics there
are some checks that can be implemented
Collins Dictionary (1979) ethics means ‘in accordance with
principles of conduct that are considered correct, especially those
of a given profession or group’.
22. Ethical considerations for data
Use appropriate research methodology
Maintain confidentiality and respect for privacy
All information gathered must be anonymous
Use appropriate language for respondents
23. Importance of Data Collection
The data collection for research is common to all fields of study.
While methods vary depending on disciplines, the emphasis on
ensuring accurate and honest collection remains the same.
Regardless of the field of study or preference for defining data,
accurate data collection is essential in:- maintaining the integrity
of research, answering research questions accurately, reducing
the likelihood of errors occurring, validating the study, obtaining
reliable results, and helping in appropriate decision making.
24. Challenges during data collection
Resistance from the Participants
lack of experience in conducting interviews
Location of data collection site
Duration of data collection instrument
Difficult to acquire sensitive Information
Choice of language to fit respondents