It’s important to understand that there are pros and cons of each type of data collection method. To determine which type of data collection method is best for you, first review your priorities, and decide what kind of data you want to obtain at the end of your collection. Then ask yourself a few key questions to help hone in on what type of data collection method you should use. What is most essential to you? Is cost savings the most important? Is saving time? Is gathering detailed data the most important? Is having the ability to run statistical analyses important to you? Answering these questions will help guide you to the best data collection method for your specific project.
Some pros and cons of popular data collection methods are listed in the table below.
Understanding the fundamentals of data collection is central to collecting quality data. It is our hope that this series of blog posts will help you move forward with compiling your data! This is the conclusion of this series of blog posts (which started with Collecting Quality Data – 4 Questions).
If you have any specific follow-up questions to this blog series, or any other research and evaluation needs, please free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driscoll, D. L. (2011). Introduction to primary research: Observations, surveys, and interviews. In C. Lowe & P. Zemliansky (Eds.), Writing spaces: Readings on writings, Volume 2 (pp. 153-174). Anderson, SC: Parlor Press.
Northwest Center for Public Health Practice. (n.d.). Data collection for program evaluation. University of Washington. Retrieved from
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Data collection methods: Pros and cons. Retrieved from http://www.samhsa.gov/capt/tools-learning-resources/data-collection-methods-pros-cons