Total Pageviews

April 02, 2012

Data Collection Techniques

Data collection techniques in research are classified by their degree of structure and the degree of directness of the queries or questions posed.

(1)        Structured and direct methods of Data collection  
(2)        Structured and  indirect methods of Data collection
(3)        Unstructured and direct methods of Data collection  
(4)        Unstructured, and indirect methods of Data collection  
(1) Structured and direct methods of Data collection: The most common data collection technique is the structured-direct questionnaire, which requires that the questions be asked with exactly the same wording and in exactly the same sequence for all respondents to control response bias by ensuring that the respondents are responding to exactly the same question. The response to a standardized question may require the selection of an alternative from a predetermined set of responses or alternatives.

Descriptive research projects typically require a Structured and direct questionnaire. The structured question-and-response categories usually require extensive pretesting to ensure that the questions measure what they are designed to measure. The structured direct questionnaire requires extensive time and skill to develop.

There are several advantages of the structured-direct approach, the greatest being administrative simplicity and ease of data processing, analysis, and interpretation. The structured question format is designed to control response bias and increase the reliability of the data. In addition, it can be administered over the telephone, through the postal mail, and by personal interview. We can use the internet via e-mail and websites to solicit responses.

Among the disadvantages of the structured-direct approach are the respondents may not be able to provide the desired data, they may not be willing to provide the data, and the questioning process may bias their responses.

In addition, structured questions with fixed-response alternatives may result in loss of validity for certain types of data. If the data required from the respondent are clear-cut, limited in scope, and well known, the structured-fixed alternative question may be very appropriate. Structured - direct data collection techniques presume that the respondents clearly understand their beliefs and feelings and are willing to communicate these data directly.

However, when the information needs involve exploring the nature of recently formed or evolving beliefs and feelings, the structured approach could seriously influence the validity of the data.

(2) Structured and indirect methods of Data collection:  The structured-indirect approach is often called the performance or objective task technique. Respondents are asked to report factual information about the topic of interest. These responses are analyzed and inferences are drawn about the nature of the respondents' underlying beliefs and feelings regarding the topic.

Structured-indirect questionnaires are generally used to uncover people's attitudes toward sensitive issues of concern to society, like abortion, pollution, or deregulation. A structured indirect questionnaire consists of a number of factual items to which respondents provide structured answers such as yes or no and true or false. A wide variety of items — ranging in degree of favorableness toward the issues being investigated — are included in the questionnaire. The items themselves can be real or fictitious.

The rationale behind a structured-indirect tests is the assumption that what and how much people claim they know about an issue can shed light on their attitudes toward the issue. Presumably greater knowledge reflects the strength and direction of the other attitude components. This contention is based on research findings on selective information processing, findings which indicate that people tend (1) to selectively expose themselves to information, (2) to selectively perceive the information and (3) to selectively retain information which is consistent with their attitudes. Consequently, asking respondents to recall factual information about a topic is a way to indirectly measure the direction and strength of their attitudes.

The structured-indirect approach represents an attempt to gain the advantages of indirect attitude measurement with the data collection and processing advantages of structured approaches.

(3) Unstructured, and direct methods of Data collection: With the unstructured - direct approach the purpose of the research study is clear to the respondent. There is a great degree of flexibility in how the questions are asked and in the degree of probing. The response format is open - ended, and respondents are encouraged to freely express their beliefs and feeling on the issues presented by the interviewer. There are two techniques that use the unstructured - direct approach the focus group interview and the depth interview.

(4) Unstructured and indirect methods of Data collection:
Unstructured - indirect data collection techniques are called projective techniques. They come from clinical psychology and are designed to obtain data indirectly about respondents' beliefs and feelings, very popularly called Psychographics. Projective techniques are designed to explore the underlying reasons and motivations of behavior.

i) Rorschach Ink blot test: The subject is shown a series of ten irregular but symmetrical inkblots, and asked to explain what they see. The subject's responses are then analyzed in various ways, noting not only what was said, but the time taken to respond, which aspect of the drawing was focused on, and how single responses compared to other responses for the same drawing.

ii) Holtzman Inkblot Test: This is a variation of the Rorschach test. Its main differences lie in its objective scoring criteria as well as limiting subjects to one response per inkblot (to avoid variable response). Different variables such as reaction time are scored for an individual's response upon seeing an inkblot.

iii) Thematic apperception test (TAT): Another popular projective test is the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) in which an individual views a series of pictures and is asked to describe various aspects of the scene; for example, the subject may be asked to describe what led up to this scene, the emotions of the characters, and what might happen afterwards.

The examiner then evaluates these descriptions, attempting to discover the conflicts, motivations and attitudes of the respondent. In the answers, the respondent "projects" their unconscious attitudes and motivations into the picture, which is why these are referred to as "projective tests."


iv) Draw-A-Person test: The Draw-A-Person test requires the subject to draw a person. The results are based on a psychodynamic interpretation of the details of the drawing, such as the size, shape and complexity of the facial features, clothing and background of the figure.

v) Sentence completion test: Sentence completion tests require the subject to complete sentence "stems" with their own words. The subject's response is considered to be a projection of their conscious and/or unconscious attitudes, personality characteristics, motivations, and beliefs.


vi) Word Association Test:  In this method, the respondent is presented with a list of stimulus words, and for each word, is asked to respond with what he thinks about the word. The respondent is not given time to think of the responses. The idea is that the `first thought' responses are likely to reveal the true feelings of the respondent about the stimulus.

vii) Fantasy Situation: Here, the respondents are asked to imagine that they are converted into a product itself e.g., car, box of chocolate. This leads to the respondent imagining himself to be product itself and give the human characteristics to the product. This method is used for developing brand perception, brand personality.

viii) Cartoon Completion:  In this method the respondent is shown a cartoon that is similar to a comic strip, with "balloons" indicating speech. Usually, two people are shown talking to each other about a particular product/service/situation, but only one balloon contains the speech.

The situation that is shown in the cartoon is obviously of special interest to the researcher, and is part of the research project under hand. The respondent has to fill the other `balloon' with his answer to what the other person is saying.


ix) Picture Arrangement Test: Created by Silvan Tomkins, this psychological test consists of 25 sets of 3 pictures which the subject must arrange into a sequence that they "feel makes the best sense".

No comments:

Post a Comment