Data collection: methods and tools

Data collection, methods and tools

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In an increasingly competitive world, it is often useful to have a large amount of information at your disposal. This allows one to better evaluate the results of one's company, but also to anticipate future trends. To put all the chances on one's side in the development of one's company, it is indeed necessary to collect data. Although this may seem simple to do, it is a process that requires a certain amount of know-how. Here is what you need to know about data collection, its methods and its different tools.

What is data collection?

Data collection is a process that helps to gather information for the purpose of making direct observations to answer open questions. In other words, it is a systematic approach to gathering and measuring different information from different sources. This approach helps to obtain a comprehensive view of an area of interest.

This process is often used by companies for different reasons. It allows companies to make informed decisions that lead to improved overall performance. Before embarking on a data collection process, it is essential for the company to find answers to certain questions.

It is important for the company to define the usefulness of the data collected and the information that needs to be collected to obtain the desired results. The company must also choose the data collection method that best suits its objectives and needs. The company should also dedicate a research team to finding the sources of the data.

Training in data collection

To master the different methods of data collection and the tools needed to implement this process, Jedha offers training courses tailored to your needs. Jedha also offers training courses in Data Scientist, Data Analyst, Data Engineer and Cyber Security. These courses are well known and recognised for people who want to develop their data collection skills. With a Jedha training course, learners will no longer have any secrets about the data business.

Data collection methods

There are two main methods of data collection, namely the quantitative method and the qualitative method of data collection. The method of collection also depends to a large extent on the subject of the research.

data collection method
Data collection method

The qualitative data collection method

The qualitative data collection technique is mainly based on the analysis of several factors in order to provide an in-depth understanding of the raw data. This method therefore involves the collection, but also the analysis and management of data. It aims, among other things, to assess factors such as the feelings or thoughts of the research participants. There are three different techniques for collecting qualitative data.

First of all, there is the ethnographic approach, which seeks above all to understand the way people live their lives. This method comes from anthropology, the study of societies and also of human cultures. There is also the theoretical approach, which was born out of the desire of sociological researchers to give a certain level of legitimacy to qualitative research by basing it on reality rather than on hypotheses.

The theoretical approach uses methods such as advanced participant observation, in-depth interviews or the collection of documents and artefacts. Finally, there is the phenomenological approach, which is a description of how people manage to cope with certain unique events or encounters. In other words, the phenomenological method describes how people react to unexpected events. For example, this approach can be measured when people are involved in a natural disaster or other event.

The quantitative data collection method

The quantitative data collection method is the most commonly used method for collecting information for research purposes. This is the case for marketers, scientists or academics. This analysis is usually concerned with the evaluation of a numerical result. There are different quantitative data collection methods.

Among the most commonly used are surveys with closed questions that help to collect responses. These highlight preferences, trends, actions, opinions and other quantifiable elements. Other methods such as tests or experiments, but also polls, allow the collection of data in a quantitative way. Relatively simple to operate, quantitative data collection methods allow researchers to ask questions that help them gather sets of facts and figures.

There are also different approaches to quantitative research. These include descriptive research, experimental research, quasi-experimental research and correlational research.

Data collection tools

There are several tools that can be used to collect data efficiently, depending on the method used.

The paper form

Forms areone of the traditional tools for data collection. Even though it is rapidly disappearing due to the creation of more powerful applications, this tool is still used by some companies to collect data. However, the response rate when using paper forms is much lower than when using applications that have the possibility to mark mandatory fields for responses.

The interview as an effective means of data collection

Interviews are very effective tools for gathering information about target populations. Indeed, with a well-developed list of questions, it is possible to collect data on a target audience. To limit the costs of interviews, it is advisable to organise them via a web chat interface or by telephone. Another advantage of interviews is that they offer the interviewer the possibility to ask open-ended questions. This makes the interviews more personal and responsive.

The online questionnaire

Less expensive and much faster, online questionnaires are one of the most effective tools for collecting a large amount of data without too much effort. However, it is necessary for respondents to have access to a computer and the internet in order to complete the questionnaires. This tool helps to generate results in real time and to interact with the target audience.

Mobile applications, data collection 2.0

In the digital age, mobile applications areexcellent tools for collecting data quickly and efficiently. Indeed, this innovative tool not only collects data, but is also able to manage it. The other advantage of using mobile applications is that it helps to minimise the risk of errors. Mobile applications also offer the possibility of obtaining a more enriched database (videos, photos, GPS coordinates, etc.).

Documents and records

Documents and records are perfect tools to obtain a large amount of information without asking any questions. The research technique is essentially based on existing data for conducting the studies. Documents that are often useful for collecting data include minutes, attendance registers, financial reports, etc.

data collection tools
Data collection

What is the purpose of data collection?

Online data collection is a process that plays an essential role for companies. It not only helps to improve the decision-making process, but also helps companies to store and analyse essential details about the different workflows.

The ability to make good business decisions

Data collection enables business managers to make important business decisions in order to meet customers' needs effectively. It provides the opportunity to :

  • find new customers,
  • improve customer retention rates,
  • streamline decisions related to marketing strategy,
  • improve customer service

Data collection also helps the company to make evidence-based business decisions. This contributes to increased sales and, in turn, improved financial results.

To have a global view of the company's performance

By collecting data, business managers can track the results of their investments and efforts. Managers can select key performance indicators or quantifiable metrics that effectively measure performance.

Improving the company's brand image

Data collection also helps to improve the company's brand image by creating a special relationship with customers. Indeed, thanks to the information collected on customers, the company is able to respond effectively to their needs. A satisfied customer is an excellent way to spread the word about the company's products and services, especially through word of mouth.

Solving complex problems

Data collection makes it easier and quicker for the company to identify inefficiencies and potential problems that could hinder its operation and growth. In addition to helping the company to detect errors, data collection, whether quantitative or qualitative, also helps to find appropriate solutions and improve for the future.

As technology evolves, data collection offers more and more ways for companies to gather, analyse and manage their information. When it comes to issues of privacy and security of collected data, technology has also made remarkable progress.

Louana Lelong
Written by
Louana Lelong
Content & Event Manager