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Research Guide: Data collection techniques

This Guide provides post graduate students with the tips and tools necessary to successfully complete their research.

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Data collection techniques

Under the main three basic groups of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed), there are different tools that can be used to collect data. Interviews can be done either face-to-face or over the phone. Surveys/questionnaires can be paper or web based. Observations and experiments can be conducted to collect either quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of the two methods. Records can also be used to study previous information by other researchers.  


  • Organise collected data as soon as it is available
  • Begin with the end in mind - know what message you want to get across and then collect data that is relevant to the message
  • Collect more data
  • Create more data
  • Regularly run experiments or collect data
  • Challenge your assumptions
  • Set reasonable expectations
  • Take note of interesting or significant data
  • Quantity is good but quality is even better

Recommended Qualitative Data Collection books