What is Data Collection? We know that Data Collection is an important element in Survey method. data are collected in various ways.Different methods can be adopted for the data collection e.g. questionnaire method, interview method including personal interviews and telephone interview. Mail survey method is also utilized. Let’s discuss in detail various ways of data collection;-
METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION
Mail surveys are used to distribute self-administered questionnaires that respondents fill out on their own.
One advantage of mail surveys is that they usually can be completed quickly. They are the best for dealing with highly personal or embarrassing topics, especially when the anonymity of respondents is preserved. Mailed questionnaires have been very useful in social research. It is useful for highly selective respondents with a strong interest in the subject matter and with greater education. When respondents are widely widespread geographically it seems very useful.
This data collection technique has some disadvantages also. As the respondents are not able to ask questions, the questionnaire must be self-explanatory. A researcher has less control over the order in which the respondents answer the questions. Respondent’s bias is also a serious problem with mail surveys. Low response rate, whether a failure to complete or failure to return the survey, is a major problem in mail surveys. Cost of mailing, waiting for time and degree of response must be carefully considered. Mail questionnaires have serious defects that include possible lack of response and the inability to check the responses given. Responses to mail questionnaires are generally poor. As a result of low returns, valid generalizations cannot be made. To choose between interview schedules or mail the questionnaire is highly important; their relative advantage for the purpose and conditions of the project must be considered. The best advice would be to avoid mail questionnaire if a better method can possibly be used. In this method, every effort should be made to obtain returns of at least 80 to 90 percent or more. Then its results can be reliable.
When personal interviews are used to collect survey data, respondents are usually contacted in their homes or in a shopping mall. Trained interviewers administer the questionnaire. The personal interview allows greater flexibility in asking questions then does the mail survey. In a personal interview, the respondent can obtain clarification, when questions are unclear and the trained interviewer can follow up incomplete or ambiguous answers to open-ended questions. Interviewers are oriented’ trained and sent out with complete instructions as to whom to interview and how the interview is to be handled.
The interviewer controls the order of questions and can ensure that all respondents complete the questions in the same order. The personal interview can be very helpful in learning a respondent’s own estimate of his reasons for doing or believing something. When asked reasons for his actions, intentions or attitudes, a person may say he has done’ something, intends to do something, or feels a certain way about something. He may specify the details,
A significant disadvantage of conducting personal interviews is the cost. The use of trained interviewers is expensive in terms of both money and time, a potential for interviewer bias is the most critical disadvantage of this technique. Interviewer bias occurs when the interviewer records only selected of a Portions of the respondent’s answers or try to adjust the wording question to fit the respondent.
For brief surveys, telephone interviews have become the method of choice. Telephone interviewing also provide better access to the dangerous neighborhood, locked buildings and respondents available only during evening hours.
Telephone surveys have little to recommend them beyond speed and low cost; especially when the interviewer is unknown to the respondents. They are limited by possible non-response, un-cooperativeness and by a reluctance to answer more than simple, superficial questions. This technique also has some drawbacks. It is a matter of question that how long respondents are willing to stay on the phone and individuals may respond differently when talking on a phone. Many people are less willing to be interviewed. Sometimes it becomes difficult to approach the people because options have made it easier for people to avoid unwanted calls.