What role does technology play in your best data collection process?
Data collection is a systematic process of gathering observations or measurements. Whether you are performing research for business, governmental or academic purposes, data collection allows you to gain first-hand knowledge and original insights into your research problem.
While methods and aims may differ between fields, the overall process of data collection remains largely the same. Before you begin collecting data, you need to consider:
- The aim of the research
- The type of data that you will collect
- The methods and procedures you will use to collect, store, and process the data
To collect high-quality data that is relevant to your purposes, follow these four steps.
Data collection is the process of gathering data for use in business decision-making, strategic planning, research and other purposes. It’s a crucial part of data analytics applications and research projects: Effective data collection provides the information that’s needed to answer questions, analyze business performance or other outcomes, and predict future trends, actions and scenarios.
In businesses, data collection happens on multiple levels. IT systems regularly collect data on customers, employees, sales and other aspects of business operations when transactions are processed and data is entered. Companies also conduct surveys and track social media to get feedback from customers. Data scientists, other analysts and business users then collect relevant data to analyze from internal systems, plus external data sources if needed. The latter task is the first step in data preparation, which involves gathering data and preparing it for use in business intelligence (BI) and analytics applications.
For research in science, medicine, higher education and other fields, data collection is often a more specialized process, in which researchers create and implement measures to collect specific sets of data. In both the business and research contexts, though, the collected data must be accurate to ensure that analytics findings and research results are valid.
What are information technologies?
Information technology is a process that uses a combination of means and methods of collecting, processing and transmitting data to obtain new quality information about the state of an object, process or phenomenon. The purpose of information technology is the production of information for analysis by people and making decisions based on it to perform an action.
Information technologies (IT)
The introduction of a personal computer in the information sphere and the application of telecommunications media have determined a new stage in the development of information technology . Modern IT is an information technology with a “friendly” user interface using personal computers and telecommunication facilities. The new information technology is based on the following basic principles.
- Interactive (dialogue) mode of working with a computer.
- Integration with other software products.
- Flexibility in the process of changing data and task definitions.
As a set of information technology tools , many types of computer programs are used: word processors, publishing systems, spreadsheets, database management systems, electronic calendars, functional purpose information systems.
Characteristics of information technologies:
- User operation in data manipulation mode (without programming). The user must not know and remember, but must see (output devices) and act (input devices).
- Transversal information support at all stages of information transmission is supported by an integrated database, which provides a unique way to enter, search, display, update and protect information .
- Paperless document processing during which only the final version of the paper document is recorded, intermediate versions and necessary data recorded on the media are delivered to the user through the PC display screen.
- Interactive (dialogue) task solution mode with a wide range of possibilities for the user.
- Collective production of a document on the basis of a group of computers linked by means of communication.
- Adaptive processing of the form and modes of presentation of information in the problem-solving process.
Types of information technologies
The main types of information technology include the following.
- Information technology for data processing is designed to solve well-structured problems, whose solution algorithms are well known and for which all necessary input data exist. This technology is applied to the performance level of low-skilled personnel in order to automate some routine and constantly repeated operations of administrative work.
- Management information technology is intended for the information service of all company employees, related to the acceptance of administrative decisions. In this case, the information is usually in the form of ordinary or special management reports and contains information about the past, present and possible future of the company.
- Automated office information technology is designed to complement the company’s existing staff communication system. Office automation assumes the organization and support of communication processes both within the company and with the external environment on the basis of computer networks and other modern means of transferring and working with information.
- Information technology for decision support is designed to develop a management decision that occurs as a result of an iterative process involving a decision support system (a computer link and the object of management) and a person (the management link, which sets input data and evaluates the result).
- Expert systems information technology is based on the use of artificial intelligence . Expert systems allow managers to receive expert advice on any problem about which knowledge has been accumulated in these systems.
The use of modern technology is more economical than ever and electronic tools now offer a cost-effective alternative to paper questionnaires for collecting high-quality data. In order to help you decide if using computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) is for you, this blog reviews the potential benefits and challenges of using CAPI and shares a recent survey experience. carried out in Guyana in which free software developed by Survey Solutions was used.
Paper questionnaires: the traditional way to collect data
Conducting surveys of this magnitude with paper questionnaires can be costly in terms of economic, administrative and logistical efforts while presenting a series of challenges: printing and transporting questionnaires to and from the field is often associated with with a high cost; Corrections to questions can represent a significant challenge in terms of cost and time. There is also the real risk that questionnaires will be lost in the field or damaged by weather or transportation before the data is systematized.
Even when all interviews have been conducted, responses must be manually entered into a digital file before the data can be analyzed. This process represents a lot of time and manual work and increases the margin of error. Data quality checks are limited, and errors are sometimes only recognized after the survey has ended, making them more difficult to correct.
However, there is an alternative to paper questionnaires: computer-assisted personal interview (CAPI). In recent years, CAPI has attracted more attention as it presents a more economical way to collect high-quality data.