Data collection is the process of gathering information from a variety of sources in the most reasonable fashion that enables researchers to answer research questions, test formulated hypotheses, and evaluate research outcomes. For providing concrete assertion, the collection of the data that best represents a targeted population is necessary. The most important thing regarding data collection is to make sure that information-rich and credible data is collected to run statistical or non-statistical tests to make an educated decision related to research.
The data collection is important for Master’s and Bachelor’s level research, but the responsibility to consider only high-quality data for analysis increases many folds when it comes to describing a problem for PhD research. The PhD dissertation is far more sensitive to the quality, quality, originality and authenticity of information used as a resource. Keeping in mind the impact of data collection procedures and methods on the overall quality of research, the prime focus of this article is to quickly review the five most important methods and procedures of data collection for PhD dissertations.
Different Methods And Procedures For Data Collection:
The availability of different methods and procedures for data collection reflects the importance of gathering information in the research process. Basically, data collection is not a difficult process; rather, it only requires researchers to follow a certain approach. After getting aware of these approaches, the data collection will most probably become an interesting research activity for you. Before setting the data collection journey, the first thing you must know is the division of data based on its collection process- primary and secondary data.
Primary data is collected when a researcher gathers first-hand information by manipulating and interviewing variables and respondents. In contrast, secondary data is collected by exploring already published information. In either case, the collection process can be performed by using questionnaires, experiments, interviews, case studies, and direct or indirect observations. Collection of data can further be done in two ways: by being directly involved in the collection or by hiring suitable PhD dissertation writing service to collect the data for your PhD research.
The following is a brief description of the five most common methods and procedures of data collection for PhD dissertation:
Scientifically, an experiment is a set of actions and observations performed by subject specialists to solve a particular problem and find the extent of interconnectedness between dependent and independent variables. A scientist has the freedom to manipulate one variable in a controlled environment to know its dependency on another one. Experiments are one of the most important procedures of data collection for quantitative research design is nothing more than a misconception. Instead, it is the method of collection of qualitative as well as quantitative data. Though scientists usually design experiments for recording data in the form of digits and figures. However, if an experiment is designed to collect data in the form of observations like changes in skin colour, apparent behaviour, and psychological changes, then such experiments are means to gather qualitative data.
Surveys are physical and digital questionnaires that help researchers collect both qualitative (textual) and quantitative data (digital) from a variety of sources. Also, surveys are tools to collect primary data in cases where aims of the research are to improve current policies and strategies by taking into measure the valuable feedback. Furthermore, surveys are important to gather information from a large cohort. Over typical questionnaires, surveys give more benefits to the researchers, especially when they want to reach out to a large number of populations to increase generalizability. In survey research, a questionnaire containing a set of questions is distributed among the target population either using digital or physical modes of transfer. It can provide data in both qualitative as well as qualitative forms.
Some common procedures of data collection also include direct observation to gather high-quality first-hand data. As a matter of course, direct observations are those when a researcher witnesses the interaction, behaviours, and processes as they occur, to gather information. In contrast to indirect observations that are based on the reports of others, direct observations demand direct involvement of researchers; this is a primary source of data collection that can provide both qualitative and quantitative data. To apply this method to research, the researcher must have a proper setting to observe a phenomenon and use senses to simultaneously record observations. Among all procedures of data collection, direct observations are known for creating discrepancies. Thus, PhD scholars are advised to take and add clear photographs of all observations as evidence to avoid such discrepancies.
A focus group is the only method in the list of top procedures of data collection that involve an expert’s participation in solving an emerging scientific problem. In such research, a few field experts arrange a meeting and conference to gather valuable reviews from different participants. In such gathering, all important aspects of a problem under study are discussed and recorded by using a number of techniques and tools. Tape recording, notes taking, and video or audio clip recording are important techniques to complete a dissertation using the focus group method of data collection.
It is the method of data collection in which an interviewer directly asks questions from the target population to analyse the theme and concepts in it. Face-to-face interviews are considered one of the most reliable methods as it gives researchers an opportunity to judge the state of mind of respondents to detect any potential bias. Telephonic and online ways of conducting interviews are trending these days as they take less time.
All in all, the selection of the best method to collect data for a PhD dissertation has a considerable effect on the overall quality of research. Even a wonderful research project can fail if not empowered by one of the most suitable procedures of data collection. Thus, data, either primary or secondary, must be collected honestly from only credible sources to meet the quality standards.