Data collection methods: Definition, example sources

Blocksurvey blog author
Jan 12, 2024 · 5 mins read

What is Data Collection?

Data collection is a methodological process of collecting information on a specific subject. Data collection can help organizations plan the resources, estimate the time, and make better decisions for their growth. Data can be anything like facts, figures, symbols or objects but collecting it legally and ethically proves it qualified to contemplate your efforts.

In every business, data collection is one crucial part involved in every step of its process. Starting from analyzing the demand to customer feedback on the product/service, data collection is vital, and it helps you make informed decisions in every phase of your business.

Types of Data Collection Methods in Research

Data collecting is carried out to investigate a problem and learn more about its outcome and future tendencies. When a solution to a problem is required, data can assist you in making predictions about the work in the future. To make calculations and analysis more effortless, we must acquire reliable data from the appropriate sources. There are two types of data collection methods. They are:

  • Primary Data Collection Methods
  • Secondary Data Collection Methods

In different situations, primary and secondary data are used, and primary data collection takes longer than secondary data collection.

Read also: The 10 best tools used for effective data collection

What is Primary Data Collection?

The original version of data acquired directly from the source is known as primary data collection; it is collected from first-hand experience.

Primary data can be classified into two forms, for example, data acquired by surveys, opinion polls from people, and conducting experiments. They are divided into qualitative methods and quantitative methods.

  • Qualitative data collection methods
  • Quantitative data collection methods

Qualitative Data Collection Methods

Qualitative data collection methods do not need any mathematical calculations to collect data. It's mostly used to assess the quality or figure out why something is the way it is. The following sections go through some of the most prevalent methods of gathering qualitative data.

Interview Method

As the name implies, data is gathered through spoken conversations with people, either in person or over the phone, or utilizing any computer-aided model. Below is a brief description of each of these strategies.

Face to Face/ Person Interview

An interviewer interviews the person from whom the data is obtained. It is possible that the discussion will be structured or will not be structured. Data is gathered directly from the person questioned by simple questions or inquiries. To streamline data organization and analysis, consider exploring an Excel alternative for a more collaborative approach.

Telephone Interview

This is accomplished by posing questions over the phone. This data collection procedure can be carried out using a variety of internet calling software. People's data is obtained directly from them by eliciting their views or opinions on a given issue.

Computer-Assisted Interview

This sort of interview is similar to a personal interview, with the exception that the interviewer and the individual being interviewed are both using a desktop or laptop computer. In addition, the data obtained is directly updated in a database, making the process faster and easier and eliminating a lot of paperwork associated with data collecting updates.

Questionnaire Method

Conducting surveys with a series of questions aimed at quantitative research is all about the questionnaire method. Using an online survey platform these survey questions can be simply created, and it also ensures that the respondents' trust in the surveys is validated. There are a few different types of questionnaire methodologies:

Web-Based Questionnaire

A web-based questionnaire means sending a survey link to a specific audience, and they get to the survey questions by clicking on the link. This is a very cost-effective and time-efficient solution that individuals can use at their leisure. In addition, the survey can be completed on any device. As a result, it is extremely dependable and adaptable.

Mail Based Questionnaire

Mails including sheets of paper carrying survey questions are distributed to the target population in this form of a questionnaire. Basically, it explains why the survey is being conducted and what kind of research is being conducted. There are also some incentives for completing this survey, which is a major draw. The advantage of this strategy is that the respondents' names are kept private from the researchers, and they can take as long as they like to complete the survey.

Observation Method

As the name 'observation' implies, data is obtained directly by observing in this method. This can be accomplished by counting the number of persons or events that occur during a specific time window. The essential skill required here is the ability to observe and correctly calculate numbers. Structured observation is a method of observation in which a researcher looks for specified behaviors.

Quantitative Data Collection Methods

The phrase 'quantity' refers to a certain amount of anything. Quantitative data collection methods use traditional or online data collection methods to express data in figures or numbers. Following the collection of this data, the findings can be calculated utilizing statistical methodologies and mathematical tools. Probability sampling, surveys, and conducting interviews are some quantitative data gathering approaches.


Surveys are used to acquire information about the target audience's preferences, opinions, choices, and comments on their products and services. Most survey software allows you to choose from a variety of question formats.

You can also save time and work by using a pre-made survey template. By modifying the theme, logo, and other elements, online surveys can be tailored to fit the company's brand. They can be disseminated via a variety of means, including email, website, offline app, QR code, social media, and so forth. You can decide the channel based on the type and source of your audience.

Survey software may generate multiple reports and perform analytics algorithms to uncover hidden insights once the data has been collected. A survey dashboard may provide you statistics such as response rate, completion rate, demographic filters, export and sharing options, and so on.

Integrating survey builders with third-party apps can help you get the most out of your online data collection efforts. A survey is one of the best ways of Data collection methods to produce quality results.


One single or multiple choice question is asked in a poll. You can use polls when you need to get a rapid pulse on the audience's feelings. It is easier to elicit responses from individuals because they are brief.

Online polls, like surveys, can be integrated into a variety of platforms. After the respondents have responded to the question, they can see how their responses compare to others.

Secondary Data Collection Methods

Secondary data refers to information gathered by someone other than the researcher. Data that needs to be known is readily available and does not necessitate unique collection methods. Data can be received directly from the company or group conducting the study and from other sources. Company records, financial statements, annual reports, personnel information, reports obtained from customers and dealers are among the internal sources of secondary data collecting.

External secondary data sources include information from books, journals, periodicals, government censuses, and information on the internet regarding the research topic. The key benefit of this form of data collecting is that it is easy to acquire because it is readily available.

Also Try: Research Form Templates

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Vimala Balamurugan

Vimala heads the Content and SEO Team at BlockSurvey. She is the curator of all the content that BlockSurvey puts out into the public domain. Blogging, music, and exploring new places around is how she spends most of her leisure time.


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