Types of Data and 7 Major Techniques of Data Collection

Data Collection Techniques
Qualitative and quantitative data collection techniques in research play a central role in reaching a conclusion. We will tell you more about such techniques in statistics and other fields of research.
ScienceStruck Staff
Last Updated: Jun 30, 2018
Research is widely used by professionals in almost all industries; be it business, manufacturing, medical, education, etc. To carry out a thorough research, you need to follow some essential steps with regards to the collection of data.
And when it come to research as a whole, the techniques of data collection are important aspects to be considered. Data collection is a method in which information related to a study is gathered by suitable mediums.
Types of Data
The types of data are basically classified on the basis of their collection methods and their characteristics. Primary data is that which is collected first-hand by the researcher himself, without relying on any kind of pre-researched information. Common techniques are interviews and questionnaires.
On the other hand, secondary data is that which is collected from other means, instead of the researcher's. Few examples of secondary data include government census and company surveys.
Data classification in also made on the basis of attributes of the data―qualitative and quantitative. The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is that, the former relates to data that is descriptive in nature, and does not involve numbers and statistics.
Whereas, the latter is the data which is numerical, and has a lot to do with numbers and figures. A good researcher will always back up qualitative data with quantitative data.
Collecting Data
Personal Interviews
woman in boardroom with man
Conducting personal interviews is probably the best method of data collection when you want to gain first-hand information. It is however, unsuitable in cases where there are many people to be interviewed and questioned.
businesswoman answering questions during meeting
Questionnaires are good methods of data collection when there is the need for a particular class of people to be questioned. The researcher can prepare a questionnaire according to the data he requires, and send it to the responders.
Detailed Observation
Archaeologist doing researc
Data can also be most effectively obtained with means of observational skills.
The researcher can visit a place and take down details of all that he observes, which is actually required for aiding his research. Here, the researcher has to make sure that what he is observing is real.
Group Discussions
Multiethnic businesspeople meeting around table
Group discussions are good techniques where the researcher has to know what the people in a group think. He can come to a conclusion based on the group discussion, which may even involve good debate topics of research.
Internet Data
Business person
The Internet is an ocean of data, where you can get a substantial amount of information for research. However, researchers need to remember that they should refer to reliable sources only on the web for accurate information.
Books and Guides
Young afro American woman doing assignments in library
This it the most traditional way that is still used in research. Unlike the Internet, it is sure that you will get good and accurate information from books and published guides.
Sometimes, for obtaining the full understanding of a scenario, researchers have to conduct actual experiments on the field.
Research experiments are usually carried out in fields such as science and manufacturing. This is the best method for gaining an in-depth understanding of the subject related to the research.
There are many other methods of data collection which may help a researcher draw statistical as well as conceptual conclusions. For obtaining accurate and dependable data, researchers prefer to combine two or more of the mentioned data collection techniques.