What is the best purpose of your data collection?
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes.
Are you going to do market research and don’t know what data collection technique you are going to use? I remind you that the design of your research will depend on this, so think carefully before saying whether you will do interviews, use the observation method or perhaps online surveys.
Before deciding which method you will choose to collect data, it is important to know what you want to obtain through this research, to be clear about the objectives to know which data collection technique will give us the best results.
What is data collection?
Data collection refers to the systematic approach of gathering and measuring information from various sources in order to obtain a complete and accurate picture of an area of interest.
Collecting data allows an individual or company to answer relevant questions, evaluate results, and better anticipate future probabilities and trends.
Accuracy in data collection is essential to ensure the integrity of a study, sound business decisions, and quality assurance. For example, you can collect data through mobile apps, website visits, loyalty programs, and online surveys to learn more about customers.
How to collect data correctly?
There are different data collection methods that can be useful to you. The choice of method depends on the strategy, type of variable, desired precision, collection point, and interviewer skills.
The research interview
Interviews are one of the most common methods. If you decide to do it, pay special attention to the questions you will ask, which also depend on whether you will do a face-to-face interview, over the phone, or even if it is by email. Know the types of interviews and select the appropriate one for your research.
Take into account that more resources, both financial and personnel, are usually needed to carry out interviews. Especially if you decide to conduct interviews in the field, or by telephone. Use all the information you have at your disposal. There may be archives of interviews from previous years that can serve as a reference for your research.
Knowing the past behavior of your consumers is of great importance when analyzing how consumer habits have changed.
Telephone interviews allow researchers to collect more information in a shorter amount of time, saving on expenses such as travel and survey materials. An advantage of this tool is that participants feel more confident when answering because they are not being observed.
Among the advantages of this tool is its great scope and the easy management of the data obtained. However, in many cases, the researcher does not have control of the interview; in addition, he or she must ensure that it is a short process so that it does not cause the participant to abandon it.
The questionnaire for data collection
Questionnaires are useful tool for data collection. To obtain the expected results, they need to be done carefully. That is why before writing it, it is important that the researcher defines the objectives of his research.
There are two formats of questionnaires: open questionnaires, which are applied when you want to know people’s opinions, experiences and feelings on a specific topic.
On the other hand, in the closed questionnaire the researchers have control of what they ask and want to know, which can cause the participants’ responses to be forced and limited.
If what you prefer is to do on-site observation to know the behavior of your clients, I remind you that you can do it using other methodologies.
Can online surveys be combined with other methodologies ?
What would it be like to be doing observation and have a platform like at hand, for example, on a mobile device, where you have access to the questionnaire that you have created with the points to investigate, and fill it in instantly with the information obtained during your observation? . Remember that you can access our tool online and offline.
Keep in mind that the way you record the information will be of great help when analyzing it. Being able to measure and present reports with accurate and real data is very important for correct decision making.
Use online surveys to collect data
Collecting data through online surveys has great advantages. If you use platforms like QuestionPro, you have various types of questions at your disposal, the use of personalized and logical variables that allow you to obtain better results and help you understand your clients in depth.
Through our platform you have the results instantly, you can see them in real time to follow up on your research; In addition to generating reports in various formats.
Also consider that collecting data through online surveys has a lower cost than, for example, doing it through in-person interviews, without forgetting that you can have your results in less time, instead of days, weeks, or even months, which is the time it could take to collect data through interviews or the observation method.
Conduct a focus group
A focus group is a form of qualitative study that consists of holding a meeting where people can discuss or resolve an established topic. This type of debate helps generate ideas, opinions, attitudes that cannot be observed with another method of data collection.
With this method, large amounts of information can be obtained, since participants feel confident to give their opinion and offer honest and accurate answers.
Group sessions are the ideal tool to obtain feedback from participants. However, they do have some disadvantages. Among the most important is the lack of control during the debate, which causes time to waste on irrelevant topics and complicates the analysis of the information. This can be solved with a moderator who is an expert in the area.
Online panels for data collection
Online panels are a tool that allows data to be collected through highly professional and qualified people. One of the advantages of this method is that participants will give specific and clear answers.
Some of the advantages of using online panels are its ease of accessing channels and obtaining direct information from the target audience. In addition, it is a very economical research method that allows obtaining quality information.
Make correct decisions based on the data obtained
Regardless of the method you decide to use to collect data, it is important that there is direct communication with decision makers. That they understand and commit to acting according to the results.
For this reason, we must pay special attention to the analysis and presentation of the information obtained. Remember that this data must be useful and functional to us, so the data collection method used has a lot to do with it.
The conclusion you obtain from your research will set the course for the company’s decision-making, so present your report clearly, listing the steps you followed to obtain those results. Make sure that whoever is going to take the corresponding actions understands the importance of the information collected and that it provides the solutions they expect.
Purpose of data collection
Don’t just collect data for the sake of it. Do it to help make a decision or to answer a specific question.
The importance of data collection comes only when the data is used for something. It might seem obvious, but many of us end up collecting data that is never used and serves no purpose.
If you come up with a question you want to answer ahead of time, you can be laser focused about collecting your data instead of wasting time and energy collecting data that is unimportant.
A couple of years ago, I was planning a trip to Berlin. I was super excited. Traveling internationally is such a special opportunity. I was determined to make the most of it. So I went about collecting data: the sights, the foods to try, things to be careful about, helpful tips and suggestions, etc.
I didn’t set a limit on my research. When it came to booking hotels, I pored over comments on Hotels.com and TripAdvisor for hours and hours. I wanted to make the best possible decision. But I didn’t realize that I was wasting time collecting data that didn’t inform my decision to book a hotel room.
Now I know: if I don’t prioritize what data to collect, then I’ll likely head down the wrong path.
Now I define the question I’m answering before collecting any data.
For example, if I’m researching a hotel in Berlin I might ask: Can I find a hotel in the Mitte neighborhood with a good work desk for less than 100 euros per night?
Types of data: quantitative and qualitative
- Both quantitative and qualitative data are useful to make decisions.
- Quantitative data is expressed in numbers. It tells you what is happening.
- Qualitative data is expressed in words. It often tells you why it’s happening.
- Some time ago I ran a product line that allowed small businesses to accept credit card payments from customers.
- A funny thing happened one month. Once we enrolled a new business, their credit card payments would start off strong then suddenly stop after a few days.
- We had the quantitative data that there was something wrong, and it rang the alarm bells to take action.
- But the data we had wasn’t pointing us in any direction, so we didn’t know what action to take.
- We set about calling customers and collecting qualitative data. We asked them in a friendly yet direct way why they had suddenly stopped using our product.