What tools or methods will you use best for data collection?
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes. The data collection component of research is common to all fields of study including physical and social sciences, humanities, business, etc. While methods vary by discipline, the emphasis on ensuring accurate and honest collection remains the same.
The importance of ensuring accurate and appropriate data collection
Regardless of the field of study or preference for defining data (quantitative, qualitative), accurate data collection is essential to maintaining the integrity of research. Both the selection of appropriate data collection instruments (existing, modified, or newly developed) and clearly delineated instructions for their correct use reduce the likelihood of errors occurring.
Consequences from improperly collected data include
- inability to answer research questions accurately
- inability to repeat and validate the study
- distorted findings resulting in wasted resources
- misleading other researchers to pursue fruitless avenues of investigation
- compromising decisions for public policy
- causing harm to human participants and animal subjects
Quantitative data collection methods
1. Closed-ended Surveys and Online Quizzes
Closed-ended surveys and online quizzes are based on questions that give respondents predefined answer options to opt for. There are two main types of closed-ended surveys – those based on categorical and those based on interval/ratio questions.
Categorical survey questions can be further classified into dichotomous (‘yes/no’), multiple-choice questions, or checkbox questions and can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” or a specific piece of predefined information.
Interval/ratio questions, on the other hand, can consist of rating-scale, Likert-scale, or matrix questions and involve a set of predefined values to choose from on a fixed scale. To learn more, we have prepared a guide on different types of closed-ended survey questions.
Without a doubt, customer data is your company’s most valuable asset. Your sales, marketing, and service teams rely on the insights you have about them to deliver satisfying experiences at the right time—from lead generation to long-term retention. This requires maintaining an accurate and up-to-date customer database so that the interactions you offer are personalized and at scale.
Obviously data collection is a challenge, since it is not easy to determine what is the fundamental information for each department. In addition, storing and using it correctly also represents a great challenge.
Data collection can be carried out through 4 research methods:
- Analytical method . Review each data in depth and in an orderly manner; goes from the general to the particular to obtain conclusions.
- synthetic method . Analyzes and summarizes information; Through logical reasoning he arrives at new knowledge.
- Deductive method . Starting from general knowledge to reach singular knowledge.
- Inductive method . From the analysis of particular data, he reaches general conclusions.
What is data collection for?
- It allows you to analyze quantitative or qualitative data in a simple way to understand the context in which the object of study develops.
- The company can store and classify the data according to the characteristics of a specific audience, so that it can later carry out marketing efforts aimed especially at it (which translate into sales).
- Helps identify business opportunities.
- Shows in which processes there is an opportunity for optimization to prevent friction in the buyer’s journey.
- It provides data for businesses to better understand the behaviors of their customers and leads by collecting information about the sites they visit, the posts they interact with, and the actions they complete.
9 data collection techniques
- Questionnaires or surveys
- Focus group
- Contact forms
- Open sources
- Social media monitoring
- Website analysis
- Conversation history
If what you want is to know the behavior of your object of study directly, making an observation is one of the best techniques. It is a discreet and simple way to inspect data without relying on a middleman. This method is characterized by being non-intrusive and requires evaluating the behavior of the object of study for a continuous time, without intervening.
To execute it properly, you can record your field observations in notes, recordings or on some online or offline platform (preferably from a mobile device, from where you can easily access the information collected during the observation).
Although this technique is one of the most used, its superficiality usually leaves out some important data to obtain a complete picture in your study. We recommend that you record your information in an orderly manner and try to avoid personal biases or prejudices. This will be of great help when evaluating your results, as you will have clear data that will allow you to make better decisions.
2. Questionnaires or surveys
It consists of obtaining data directly from the study subjects in order to obtain their opinions or suggestions. To achieve the desired results with this technique, it is important to be clear about the objectives of your research.
Questionnaires or surveys provide broader information; however, you must apply them carefully. To do this you have to define what type of questionnaire is most efficient for your purposes. Some of the most popular are:
- Open Questionnaire : Used to gain insight into people’s perspective on a specific topic, analyze their opinions, and obtain more detailed information.
- Closed questionnaire : used to obtain a large amount of information, but people’s responses are limited. They may contain multiple-choice questions or questions that are easily answered with a “yes/no” or “true/false.”
This is one of the most economical and flexible types of data collection, since you can apply it through different channels, such as email, social networks, telephone or face to face, thus obtaining honest information that gives you more results. precise.
Note : Keep in mind that one of the main obstacles in applying surveys or questionnaires is the low response rate, so you should opt for an attractive and simple document. It uses simple language and gives clear instructions when applying it.
3. Focus group
This qualitative method consists of a meeting in which a group of people give their opinion on a specific topic. One of the qualities of this tool is the possibility of obtaining various perspectives on the same topic to reach the most appropriate solution.
If you can create the right environment, you will get honest opinions from your participants and observe reactions and attitudes that cannot be analyzed with another data collection plan.
To do a focus group properly you need a moderator who is an expert on the topic. Like observation, order is essential for evaluating your results. Remember that a debate can always get out of control if it is not carried out in an organized manner.
This method consists of collecting information by asking questions. Through interpersonal communication, the sender obtains verbal responses from the receiver on a specific topic or problem.
The interview can be carried out in person or by telephone and requires an interviewer and an informant. To conduct an interview effectively, consider what information you want to obtain from the subject under investigation in order to guide the conversation to the topics you need to cover.
Gather enough information on the topic and prepare your interview in advance, listen carefully and generate an atmosphere of cordiality. Remember to approach the interviewee gradually and ask easy-to-understand questions, as you will have the opportunity to capture reactions, gestures and clarify the information in the moment.
5. Contact forms
A form on a website is a great source of data that users contribute voluntarily. It helps your brand to know their name, email, location, among other relevant data; They also help you segment the market so that you generate better conversion results.
You can obtain this data by offering a special discount, subscribing to your newsletter, ebooks, infographics, videos, tutorials, and more content that may be of interest to your site visitors. If you don’t have one yet, try our free online form builder .
6. Open sources
To understand your business even more, turn to open sources to obtain valuable data. Find free and public information on government pages, universities, independent institutions, non-profit organizations, large companies, data analysis platforms, agencies, specialized magazines, among others.
7. Social media monitoring
Through social networks it is possible that they collect data about the sector in which your brand operates, your main competitors and, above all, your potential clients. This way you can also communicate with them and get to know your audience more closely.
The best of all is that most of these types of platforms already have integrated performance analysis tools for your profile and your marketing campaigns, for free; including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
8. Website Analysis
Another technique to collect really useful data from visitors to your website is to implement a tracking pixel or cookies. This way you will easily know the user’s location, their behavior patterns within the page, which sections they interact with the most, the keywords they used in the search engine to get there, if they came from another website, among others.
This will also help you improve the user experience on your website. One of the most popular tools to perform this task is Google Analytics. It is worth mentioning that the handling of this type of data is legally regulated in each country differently, so you must comply with the guidelines that apply to you.
9. Conversation history
Saving the conversations generated in the chat on your website, on social networks, chatbots, emails, even calls and video calls with customers is also an efficient data collection technique. This will give you excellent feedback to optimize your products or services, improve customer service, accelerate the sales cycle, deliver products on time, resolve complaints, etc.