Data is everywhere in the shape of audio, videos, text, numbers, and many other forms. The important thing is collecting data in a way that will benefit research or business. The stages of data collection are significant in research, business decision making and other objectives. Effective data collection delivers specific information to answer research questions, scientific and business performances and other conclusions.
Stages of Data Collection
Stage 1 – Identifying the Objectives
In most research cases, identifying the accurate objective is very typical and complicated. There is the involvement of classification for those problems which have to be solved by the research. Several people feel frustrated about the question of data collection without giving any information about the objective of such data. Clarity about the goal is essential before data collection, and it can be possible when the researcher is confident with the research purpose and objective. In organizations, the internal and external analysis is also helpful before conducting research so that proper understanding can be developed and the researcher will be confident about the prescribed objectives.
Stage 2 – Developing Operational Definitions and Setting Goals
The second important stage is the information about measurement and its techniques before data collection. A defined objective for each issue is essential before starting the stages of data collection. It is also important to make a priority of goals in case of categorizing issues before the data collection for research. For such purpose, a research hypothesis is essential to make proper definitions of goals and opportunities before any initiative of data collection. You can even buy a dissertation online if you are unable to complete research hypothesis at your own.
Stage 3 – Methodology Setting
It is beneficial to make a proper decision about the methods and approaches of data collection. The objective, processing and procedure of data collection must be clear before assigning a data collection task. Clarification about the duration of data collection, definition of resources and the methods must be defined through which data will be collected. However, for all such objectives, expert consultation is essential. Furthermore, there are other numbers of factors required to understand before the methodology section of data collection is initiated. According to the prescribed requirements of the research, it is significant to identify petty issues, such as the size of the data, targeted population, geographical locations, and communities. Below mentioned points are important in defining methodology:
Defining Methodology Of Data Collection
It depends upon the researcher how he/she wants to gather data; however, two basic types of data are there in social sciences research:
- Qualitative Data - It is the type of data which is in the shape of text, audio, feelings, emotions, and other types of sound recording. There is no numerical form involved in qualitative data formation. In qualitative data, the basic concentration is on a specific event or context in a broader contextual approach.
- Quantitative Data – It is in the forms of integers, numerical values and statistical or mathematical formulas. This form can be used to make counting or numbering objectives, people and other things which fall into a specific background. Quantitative data is in the shapes of surveys, statistical data sets and questionnaires.
The choice of data collection depends on the objectives of the research you make at the initial stages of data collection. It is the prerogative of the researcher, according to defined objectives, to do data collection.
Stage 4 – Data Collection Stage
When the researcher finalizes all mentioned above stages, he/she is ready to implement the strategy of data collection. The researcher can store data after collection starts so that it will become beneficial in later stages. Research needs to stick to the defined data collection plan and check the process in specific defined intervals. The schedule is essential in the proceedings of data collection, when data collection is on a continuous basis. However, data collection is further divided into the following sub-categories:
Using Previously Gathered Data
When organizations are working continuously on data gathering, a large amount of data may already be available. Some previously defined and conducted surveys may be available, and official statistics and other useful information can also be extracted from previously maintained data.
Collecting Fresh Raw Data
On the other hand, if existing data is not available or not sufficient, then the researcher or organization needs to collect new data sets. There are several possibilities available in this regard. Researchers can choose different approaches at different stages of data collection and may use pre-defined resources to gather raw data from the targeted population. The following points are important before collecting raw data:
- Defining resources, logistics and technology to implement the initiative of data collection.
- Addressing the concerns of all stakeholders and all kinds of questions regarding research and project.
- Defining proper consultation strategy and communication approaches which can describe data collection processes and maintain the goal of the highest possible rate of participation and achievement.
- Focusing on ethical issues, personal information protection, and privacy of the targeted population data is essential.
- The researcher must concentrate on the level of respect and dignity while collecting data from targeted participants.
- Choosing a convenient time for data collection, such as surveys or interviews, must be aligned to the specific and appropriate time.
- Focusing on flexibility for required changes without any further cost and botheration.
- Assigning a specific pilot phase to test the data before properly implementing, improving and modifying the data collection methods.
Stage 5 – Analyzing and Interpreting
The final stage is based on interpreting and analyzing the gathered data. On the choice of the researcher, either data is of qualitative or quantitative basis, the interpreting and analysis may be complicated.
Data collection depends on different methodologies at different stages of data collection; however, the researcher can use data according to his/her defined objectives when he/she uses flexible approaches, the latest techniques and proper scheduling in data collection. When the researcher is using accurate methodologies in data collection, it is essential for upcoming research either required for scientific, medical or other educational purposes. As mentioned above, data collection involves several stages. However, the important thing is that gathered data should be precise for generating effective research results and capable of making changes in previously conducted research.