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Chapter 5

Data Collection Approaches

Learning Objectives:
1. Understand data collection principles and
practices.
2. Describe the differences between collecting
qualitative and quantitative data.
3. Understand the differences between
observation and survey methods.
4. Assess the use of questionnaires as
instruments for data collection.
5. Appreciate the role of the various interviewing
methods in obtaining data.

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Data Collection Approaches

Data Collection

Observation

Human

Mechanical
& Electronic

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Survey Methods
Self Completion

Interviewer
Administered

Qualitative Research

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Role of Qualitative Research


Search of academic, trade and professional
literature.
Use of interviews, brainstorming, focus
groups.
Internalization of how others have
undertaken both qualitative and quantitative
research.
Use of existing questionnaires/constructs.
Outcome of Qualitative Research
Improve conceptualization.
Clarify research design, including data
collection approach.
Draft questionnaire.
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Quantitative Research
Role of Quantitative Research
Quantify data and generalize results from
sample to population.
Facilitates examination of large number of
representative cases.
Structured approach to data collection.
Enables extensive statistical analysis.
Outcome of Quantitative Research
Validation of qualitative research findings.
Confirmation of hypotheses, theories, etc.
Recommend final course of action.

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OBSERVATION

Data are collected by systematically


recording observations of people,
events or objects. Observational
data can be obtained by use of
human, mechanical or electronic
observation.

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ETHNOGRAPHIC RESEARCH

. . . a form of observational
data collection in which
researchers spend long
periods of time with a
respondent and then write
narratives that describe the
respondents behavior.

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CONTENT ANALYSIS

. . . . obtains data by systematically


observing and analyzing the content or
message of written text.

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Content Analysis
Software:
TextSmart is a software package that enables users to view,
manipulate and automate the coding or categorization of responses to
narative data. The ability to automate the examination and organization
of narrative data is particularly helpful when a large scale survey is
undertaken. It can be used to analyze any textual data, and its output can
be exported to SPSS for further analysis. For example, you can do
correspondence analysis * on a contingency table from a TextSmart
analysis. For more information about TextSmart and related SPSS
products visit the WWW site www. spss.com.
QSR NUD*IST stands for Non-Numerical Unstructured Data
Indexing and Theorizing. It is a popular computer software package
used by researchers to analyze text from focus group or interview
transcripts, literary documents and so on. It examines non-textual data
such as photographs, tape recordings, films and so on. Users can to
index and link several documents in a structured way to produce
categorical data in a form amenable to further analysis. NUD*IST output
can be exported to software programs such as SPSS and Excel. For
more information about QSR NUD*IST and its related product NVIVO
visit their website (http://www.scolari.co.uk/qsr/qsr_n4.htm ).

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SURVEY METHODS

. . . a procedure used to collect


primary data from individuals. The
data sought can range from beliefs,
opinions, attitudes and life styles to
general background information on
individuals such as gender, age,
education and income, as well as
company characteristics like revenue
and number of employees.

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SURVEY METHODS
Go On-Line
www.ropercenter.com

Self-Completion

Interviewer Administered

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SELF-COMPLETION SURVEYS

Mail

Regular
Fax
Overnight

Electronic

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Email
Internet
Diskette

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PURPOSE OF QUESTIONNAIRES

. . . . to obtain data that cannot be easily


observed or is not already available in
written or electronic form..

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USES OF QUESTIONNAIRE
DATA

Description
Explanation
Hypothesis Testing
Model Building

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PANELS

Panels are a special type of


survey method in which data
is collected from the same
group of respondents over a
period of time.

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MAIL QUESTIONNAIRES

Good cover letter.


Anonymity.
Allows large samples with wide coverage.
Relatively low cost.
Low response rates.
Do not know who responded.
Requires highly structured questionnaire
with predominantly closed-end questions.

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ELECTRONIC SURVEYS

Administered electronically across network through use


of e-mail or Internet.
Relatively low cost.
Easy to administer.
Eliminates interview bias.
Fast data collection and analysis.
Sample restricted to users of network through use of email or Internet.
Complexity of designing and programming the
questionnaire cost in terms of time and money.

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INTERVIEWER ADMINISTERED
SURVEYS
Face-to-Face

Focus Groups
Mall
In Home, at Work, etc.

Telephone
Computer Dialogue

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INTERVIEWS

Interviews involve the researcher


speaking to the respondent directly,
asking questions and recording answers.

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TYPES OF INTERVIEWS
Go On-Line
www.ropercenter.com

Structured

Semi-structured

Unstructured

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TYPES OF INTERVIEWS

Structured Interviews the interviewer uses an interview


sequence with predetermined questions that are asked in
exactly the same way.
Semi-structured Interviews the researcher follows a
predetermined structure and direction, but can ask
related, unanticipated questions that were not originally
included.
Unstructured Interviews the researcher does not follow
an interview sequence and elicits information by
engaging the interviewee in a free and open discussion
on the topic of interest.

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FOCUS GROUPS
Semi-structured interviews that use an
exploratory research design and are
considered qualitative research.
Informal discussions among 8 to 12
respondents that share something in
common.
Guided by a moderator who encourages
discussion and keeps the group on
track.
Random samples are not required.

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FOCUS GROUP
MODERATORS
Personability.
Attentive.
Professional Training.
Organization.
Objectivity.
Listening Skills.

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UNSTRUCTURED
INTERVIEWS

. . . are conducted without the use of an


interview sequence, which allows
the researcher to elicit information
by engaging the interviewee in free
and open discussion on the topic of
interest.

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DEPTH INTERVIEWS

. . . . also referred to as in-depth


interviews, they are an unstructured
one-to-one discussion session
between a trained interviewer and a
respondent who has some
specialized insight.

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PERSONAL INTERVIEWS
Approaches can vary from very informal to very formal.
Expensive in terms of interviewing and travel costs.
Expensive in terms of time to complete the process:
need to gain access.
training of interviewers.
co-ordination and supervision of fieldwork.
time for interview.
Unlikely to be used with large samples.
Problem of lack of anonymity.
Opportunity to probe complex questions.
Opportunity to record additional information.

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TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS:
Low cost form of personal
interviewing.
Obtain information
quickly.
More costly than mail
questionnaires but less
than personal interviews.
Administration relatively
easy.
Interview bias less of a
problem.

Need to make sure that


interviewees are convinced
approach is genuine.
Questions are short and focused.
If questions are open-ended, make
sure question does not exceed 15
words; interviewee should not be
expected to give lengthy answers.
For closed-end questions the
number of pre-coded options
should not exceed five.
Response rates can be a problem.

Problem with unlisted


numbers.

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COMPUTER DIALOGUE

. . . the answering of questions online through the


use of PCs. Typically, it involves an emailed
questionnaire that facilitates discussion on a oneto-one basis or by a group.

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Types of Errors

Nonresponse = refusal or sampling.


Response = respondent or interviewer.
Data Collection Instrument:
Construct Development.
Scaling Measurement.
Questionnaire Design/Sequence, etc.

Data Analysis.
Interpretation.

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DATA COLLECTION
APPROACHES
Go On-Line
www.acnielsen.com

What is A. C. Nielsen saying about its


latest scanner technology?

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DATA COLLECTION
APPROACHES
Go On-Line
www.dssresearch.com/mainsite/surveys.htm

Review the surveys on this site and


complete two of them. How is the
information on this website valuable to
business researchers?

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