Data have varied applicability and usage in todayâ€™s time. Irrespective of whether businesses are taking digitization into account, data are everywhere and have to be evaluated to derive insights, make forecasts, and manage processes to add value. By collecting information and data based on metrics, variables, or factors, sound decision-making becomes easier.
The significance of data collection is highlighted below.
Data collection allows to preserve data and analyze the existing and prospective customers.
Data collection saves on the company finances by developing a customer database for future marketing and re-targeting purposes.
The collection of data can be tailored as per the researcherâ€™s objectives (e.g., understanding customer requirements or user website testing).
The process of data accumulation can also be standardized for higher reliability and validity (e.g., opting for accurate measurements and sampling procedures).
Digitized collection of data allows to gather information for larger sample size and improves the data reliability.
The virtual gathering of data also tends to be cost-effective and quicker than in-person collection, as it eradicates any possibilities of bias and limits human error.
Data Collection Methods
Data collection is classified into two kinds based on the data type, namely, primary data and secondary data collection methods. The primary or raw data are extracted immediately from first-hand sources through experiments, observation, or surveys. Secondary data are not collected by the actual user and are available in newspapers, magazines, journals, books, etc. The primary data collection method is further divided as follows.
Quantitative Data Collection Method: This method uses various formats such as close-ended questions, regression and correlation methods, and mean, mode, median measurements. This method is cost-effective than the qualitative data collection method and can be executed in a short tenure.
Qualitative Data Collection Method: It does not consist of mathematical calculations and is firmly connected with components that cannot quantify. It is inclusive of interviews, observations, questionnaires, case studies, etc. There are several methods to collect such type of data, as elaborated below.
Observation Methodology: This observation method is deployed when the study is linked to behavioral science. This method requires systematic planning and is subject to several checks and controls. The various forms of observation are as follows:
Structured or unstructured observation
Controlled or uncontrolled observation
Participant or non-participant or disguised observation
Interview Methodology: In this process, data are collected orally or verbally. They are attained in two ways, as outlined below.
In-person interview: In this interview method, an interviewer asks face-to-face questions to the interviewee (respondent). It could be in the form of structured or unstructured interviews, focused conversations, direct investigation, etc.
Telephonic interview: As the name suggests, the interviewer extracts information through telephonic mode to ask questions or views orally.
Questionnaire Methodology: In this methodology, a set of questions (survey) is mailed to the respondent to be returned upon completion. The questions are printed in a definite order or form. An effective survey questionnaire has the following attributes.
Brief and simple
Has a logical sequence
Satisfactory space for answers is provided
No use of technical terms or jargon.
Great visible representation, such as color, paper quality, etc., to garner the respondentâ€™s attention.
Schedules: This method is the same as the survey questionnaire with some differences. Enumerations are particularly appointed to complete the schedules. It explains the research goals or objectives and enables the removal of any misunderstandings.
The secondary data collection method is further divided as described below.
Published data: The resources for published data include public records, government publications, statistical or historical documents, business documents, trade, and technical journals.
Unpublished data: The unpublished data include letters, diaries, unpublished biographies, etc.
To conclude, gathered data enables to derive some solid inferences about a business unit. Thus, data collection is essential to evaluate the performance of a business unit, solve a problem, and make assumptions about particular things when required.
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