Data collection is all about pooling information in different formats for measuring it to draw decisions or strategies.
It’s the only way to turn things better and make future brighter through a ton of opportunities. The decisions that are data-driven prove feasible. With a great scope to adapt various situations, organizations move to a win-win situation with it. It is because the drawn facts and stats let you to foresee the product demand, customer journey, competitors and all whatever is involved in a corporate life.
In short, the data represent the lifeblood of corporate decisions because not even a single plan can be devised without analyzing the insights. This is why called that datasets show the truth.
Data Collection methods
The internet is full of online data gathering solutions. How you actually get information-here is the answer. These are the common methods that give Artificial Intelligence to think as we do.
Let’s start with its division.
Typically, the data collection methods are divided into PRIMARY and SECONDARY METHODS. These are further split into subsets.
Let’s get through primary method of data collection.
Primary Method of Data Collection
As its name suggests, the datasets in this case are gathered from the first-hand experience. It is a fresh piece of information that has never been used for any purpose. These details are gathered to achieve a specific research goal, which needs highly accurate, valid and contextual data in a structured format.
This method is further divided into two subsets:
Quantitative technique is mainly used in market research, which eases business-based predictions using statistical tools. Generally, strategists and analysts foresee the demand based on historical insights. The type of datasets can be statistical, mathematical or numerical for analysis. All of these details guide on making long term forecasts. This method is actually reliable because the quality of what has been collected is hardly influenced by opinions or feelings or any other things. They are pure facts.
This process comprises any of these three ways:
1. Time Series Analysis
Time series refers to a sorted value of an independent variable, which is also called a trend. It shows patterns, which ensures seeing the future demand for any products and services for the premeditated time.
2. Smoothing Techniques
These techniques fill up the gaps found in the time series method. They remove a random variation from the historical demand, which makes patterns and demand to reflect crystal clear so that the prospective demand can be estimated. The simple moving average method and the weighted moving average methods make it truly happen.
3. Barometric Method
It is the most effective indicators approach that researchers use for figuring out future trends on the basis of current happenings. This leading indicator method involves getting deep with the past events to see what’s next or what’s going to happen.
As it’s a collection of some subsets, these methods are amazing when you don’t have any historical insights. They do not involve any numbers or mathematical calculations because words, sounds, feelings, emotions, colours and other elements that are not quantified make it happen. In short, the senses are needed to be discovered, which are drawn from experience, judgment, intuition and emotions etc..
The substantial benefit is that you can easily know the intentions of the target audience or participants on the basis of their responses. But, you cannot easily find out the reason of those responses. Besides, it takes a long time to get such details, sometimes you may have to wait for weeks or months to gather the information. This is why this method should be combined with quantitative methods for reaching the most feasible and effective results.
Here are the subsets of these methods:
Surveys help in collecting data from the target audience, which is then further analyzed for catching up with the insights into opinions, preferences, selection and feedback of the products/services. A wide range of questions subjected to the aim assists in gathering information from these ways.
Another easy method is to use survey templates for ready-made campaigns, which save many precious hours and efforts. Online surveys describe it in the best way. They come with a great scope for customizing it as per your company’s requirements, vision, theme and logos etc.. Emails, websites, offline apps, QR codes and social media make it way easier to run this campaign to reach your target audience.
After campaigns, the real hard work begins. Survey software automatically generate reports to ensure discovering insights through response rate, completion rate, filters based on demographics, exports and sharing options. To maximize results and valuable insights, integrating a third party app for survey-building is an exception idea.
Polling is a campaign involving single or multiple choice questions. This method is extraordinarily well when it comes to understanding the target audience’ emotions or senses in no time. Their short and easy layout helps to attract quick responses from the people.
Interestingly, these polls can be integrated into various online platforms to swiftly pool information through responses of the audience.
It’s what you ask and get answers from respondents face-to-face or on a telephone. The interviewers request for responses from interviewees. Their answer is the information, which is further assessed from different verticals. The best thing is that you have an alternative to switch to telecommunication for carrying it out if one-on-one is not possible.
However, it can make you overwhelmed with the task because you have to continue unless you get the required information.
4. Delphi Technique
This method is for market researchers or experts who are interested in predicting things about any industry or sector. These forecasts are made through the consensus as per objectives of all experts. The best part is its flexibility, which allows you to reconsider and revise what you have predicted.
5. Focus Groups
This is a group activity, which requires around 8 to 10 people to form a small group for discussing about the common problems based on the corporate objective. Each stakeholder comes with his unique insights. A moderator is there to regulate the entire discussion and reach the conclusion at the end.
This is a set of questions, either open-ended or closed ended, to collect answers for knowledge and figuring out feasible ideas to meet the objective. It may be used with surveys or apart from that.
Secondary Data Collection Methods
This is based on searching the existing information to gather insights. The researcher obtains it from a variety of resources that can be both, internal or external.
Here is the list of internal resources:
- Health and safety records of company
- Mission and vision statements
- Financial Statements
- Sales Report
- CRM Software
- Executive summaries
- HR Data
External sources can be:
- Government reports
- Press releases
- Business journals
These resources make pooling like a piece of cake that may integrate both, qualitative and quantitative, methods. The benefits that make it standout are its availability and fast turnaround time. The only downside is that the authenticity of data can be hardly known.