What are some of the data collection methods?
Data collection consists of using various methods and instruments to gather as much information as possible around the desired objective.
In any research that is carried out, information is the most important and valuable thing. It is the most valuable element that all the conclusions of the research depend on. In order to be able to carry out almost any action within a company, it is crucial to have sufficient information. This helps you avoid mistakes and to be able to make informed decisions.
Information gathering methods make it possible for your company to answer important questions for the development of its activity. Most importantly, with the obtained data, you can anticipate future trends or problems beforehand. These methods range from incident reports or staff competency assessments, to audits and inspections. It is useful in enabling the business to move forward and improve its performance with each new piece of information obtained.
In short, data collection makes it possible for your company to have a much more detailed view of information.
There are several ways to get this information. The data collection methods your company uses will depend on a number of factors such as strategy, the type of information you want to collect and where you need to look for it. Some companies carry out these information gathering methods through their production, human resources or health and safety departments, among others. Others, however, use technical consultancy and risk prevention services to outsource this work.
Some tools, such as Kizeo Forms, can be useful for collecting information in the field using a mobile phone or tablet. Using digital forms to be completed with the mobile application, information can be collected and quickly centralised and exported for analysis.
In order to be able to operate with the information gathered and make informed decisions, it is important to choose data collection methods that are reliable and appropriate for the research your company is conducting.
The first thing to determine is whether the research will be quantitative, qualitative or mixed. Quantitative methods are based on collecting numerical data to discover patterns or formulate facts.
With quantitative data collection methods, it is possible to find out how many times a phenomenon occurs. For example how often a word is used.
Qualitative methods, however, are used to find out opinions, motives and motivations of people. These methods help to examine the reasons for decision making and to develop hypotheses for further quantitative research. It is very useful in companies to check the degree of customer satisfaction or points for improvement.
Of these methods of information gathering, there is no one best or worst. Each method is used for different purposes depending on the type of information your company needs to obtain.
Within quantitative research, we can find different methods of data collection, such as time series analysis, smoothing technique and barometric method.
Quantitative data collection methods are mainly used to make long-term forecasts. They are normally used for closed ended questions. The first of these is time series analysis.
This method focuses on a sequential ordering of values of a variable to predict an outcome. For example, the demand for a product at a certain point in time.
The second quantitative method is the smoothing technique, which is used to remove random variations from a time series. Within the smoothing techniques, the moving average and weighted moving average methods are used to identify patterns and forecast future demand.
The last of the most commonly used quantitative data collection methods is the barometric method, which relies on current trends as the main indicator to predict future trends.
Qualitative research is concerned with elements that are not quantifiable, and is based on experience, judgement, emotions, etc. They are mainly used for open ended questions. There are many types of methods for collecting qualitative information, and here we will discuss the main ones:
They are direct observation, focus groups, experiments, questionnaires and interviews.
Through direct observation, customers’ behaviours are observed to understand what they do, why they do it and how they do it. This method can also be applied to different departments of the company, for example by observing the productivity of employees.
With the focus group method, on the other hand, information is obtained from a meeting in which a group of 8 to 10 people discuss a specific topic. Each participant expresses his or her point of view. At the end of the session, the group must reach a consensus.
In experiments, participants are exposed to different treatments and variables that are not directly related to the topic. This way it is possible to obtain information to understand why people, products and the company behave a particular way.
Another method of qualitative data collection is the survey. It is used to study the knowledge and experiences of the population defined in the research. To carry out this method, a questionnaire is used as an instrument with an unbiased tone. This helps to ensure the transparency of the study.
Finally, with interviews, data collection is carried out in person or by telephone, asking participants questions and recording their answers. This method is only recommended when the audience is small, as it is a relatively time consuming process.
With the advancement of technology, companies no longer need to use paper forms to conduct surveys, audits or evaluations. Instead, they can use specialised mobile applications such as Kizeo Forms. It is a simple online data collection solution.
This type of tool is characterized by its ability to gather data in real time, even without an internet connection. Furthermore, it helps in the recording of wide range of formats such as text, images, audio and geolocation.
Its level of customisation is another aspect to highlight. Mobile forms and customised reports can be created, and it is possible to include your company logo, your databases, etc.
As for the possibilities of exporting data, applications such as Kizeo Forms facilitate this management. You only need to log on to the web platform to visualise and retrieve the collected data.
You only need to follow some simple steps to get started:
Check out our case studies to understand how are customers benefit by using Kizeo Forms for gathering information. We also have several survey questionnaires and survey templates available on our forms library.
For any research project, it is important to identify the data collection method and tool that best suits your objectives.
Using technology will undoubtedly allow you to have more access to information. It will thus help you work in a more timely manner to improve your internal processes and your relationship with customers.
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