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 If time and resources allow, consider collecting information using more than one method.

 

Data collection options

MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
Questionnaire
  • May yield large amount of information.
  • Restricts respondents to specific areas.
  • Does not require trained interviewers.
  • Time effective for a large number of participants.
  • Requires explicit instructions.
  • Return rates tend to be low. (Try building in an incentive to motivate people to completion.)
  • Requires a significant sample size for an acceptable confidence level.
Observation
  • Establishes what people actually do, not what they say they do.
  • May be accomplished via trained observers or automatic cameras.
  • Helps pinpoint problem areas.
  • Requires skilled observers.
  • May be expensive and time-consuming.
  • Data not easily quantifiable.
Face-to-Face Interview
  • Yields a high response rate.
  • Provides most information for time spent and most accurate detail.
  • Provides opportunity to pursue responses for more detail.
  • May be costly in both time and money.
  • May provide extraneous information.
  • Requires trained interviewers.
Telephone Interview
  • Less costly than face-to-face interviews.
  • Less time-consuming that face-to-face interview.
  • Provides no non-verbal feedback.
  • Respondent may cut interview short.
  • Requires trained interviewer.

Group Data Collection

  1. A panel of experts or master performers.
  2. A focus group of target population.
  • Yields a high response rate.
  • Provides significant amount of information for time spent.
  • Experts can identify what is and what needs to be.
  • May be difficult to schedule.
  • Requires some degree of structure.
  • Dominant participant may bias group response.
  • Requires a trained facilitator.
  • May provide extraneous information.
  • May need to provide an incentive for participation.
 
 

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