When carrying out research of any kind, one important thing to note is the type of data that is required for carrying out the research. Sometimes, it could be the primary data or secondary data etc. Data is seen as raw facts that are processed for information i.e data are facts that are meant to be refined. There are qualitative or quantitative data. Sometimes, both the data and information are often used interchangeably. In research, data are collected from respondents, participants, the content of the newspapers, mere observation, interview, music, video, books etc depend on what the researcher is seeking.
In research, data collection procedure or technique is the approach used by the researcher to elicit responses from the respondents, participants, content, and observations. Abdulwahab (2012) defines data collection procedure as the process by which the research instrument is administrated for the purpose of data collection.
Data collection can be defined as a process of collecting and measuring information on specific variables in order to provide answers to the research problem which will also determine the type of answers to generate as findings.
Although different fields of study have different ways of collecting data, one fact that still remains is that they share the same purpose of ensuring accurate and objectives data collection I.e the primary objective of every data collection is to generate evidence-based data that can be tested, verified and generalized.
The type of research will determine the type of data gathering technique to be used because qualitative and quantitative research called for different data and data collection method. Although, at advanced research, two or more research methods can be used together (Triangulation). It should be noted that, fair and accurate data collection is critical to enhance the integrity of any kind of research.
Examples of Data Collection Instruments
- Questionnaire Method
- Interview Method
- Focus Group Method
- Coding Sheet/Content categories
Problems with Poor Data Collection
If the research data is poorly collected or not properly collected as a result of different factors, below are some of the consequences
- It will not be able to provide answers to the research problem
- It may find it difficult to answer research questions
- The research may not be able to stand the test of time as the instrument is not reliable
- It will not be able to measure what is expected to measure.
- It will lead to faulty findings.
Karim, A. (2014) offers the following as some of the importance of good data collection to research.
- Accurate and systematic data collection is critical to conducting scientific research.
- Data collection allows us to collect information that we want to collect about our study objects.
- Depending on research type, methods of data collection include documents review, observation, questioning, measuring, or a combination of different methods.
Abdulwahab, O. I. (2012) Practical Guides to Project Writing. Offa: Wunmi Commercial Press.
Wikipedia (2018). Data Collection. Retrieved August 21, 2018, https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Data_collection
Karim, A. (2014). Training in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research. Geneva: Geneva Workshop. Retrieved September 1, 2018, from https://www.gfmer.ch/SRH-Course2013/Geneva-Workshop/pdf/Data-collection-instruments-Abawi-2014.pdf