9: Primary data collection: conventional methods


The collection of data is an essential step of research and has implications for the whole project. Too much data can become unwieldy and difficult to analyse while too little can lead to poor research. This chapter guides the researcher in deciding how much data is needed and describes some of the most common conventional methods for primary data collection. It begins by examining the collection of quantitative data using counting, measuring and questionnaires. The pros and cons of questionnaires are listed along with tips for using questionnaires as a research method. Next, qualitative data collection methods are covered including an examination of the use of interviews, focus groups, documents and observation to gather data. Pros and cons, best practice and tips are provided for each method. The chapter closes with an update of the case studies followed by exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.

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