Collecting Data Yourself
Data collection is one of the most important stages of your research because the quality of the data you collect will shape or limit the value and credibility of your findings. When collecting original data you need to think about issues such as appropriate sample size, methodology, and other strategies for avoiding bias and ensuring validity. Follow best practices for the collection method you have selected. Remember to make a plan for your data collection, create a file naming convention and organization structure, and document the steps you take and the decisions you make.
Methods for Collecting Your Own Data
Your research question will determine the most appropriate methodology to use for data collection. You should consider time and resources available when choosing your data collection method. You must also decide if you wish to collect qualitative, quantitative data, or both. (Refer to Module 1 for more information on the differences between qualitative and quantitative.) Here are some common methodologies for collecting both types of data.
Qualitative data enables you to investigate the "why" and "how". For example, what do people think of the navigation options on a web site, or the quality of service at a restaurant.
Common qualitative collection methods are:
Common quantitative collection methods are: