What are Data Collection Tools?
These are instruments used to collect information for
use in performance assessment, self-evaluation and
Face to Face (In-Person) Interviews
An interactive process in which trained interviewers visit people in
their homes or work to directly collect data from them.
There is a high response rate.
Interviewers can make relevant
observations on sensible variables.
The researcher can adapt the
questions as necessary, clarify doubt
and ensure that the responses are
Travel costs for interviewers can be
The interviewers to not always visit
at times convenient to the
interviewee and hence may have to
High cost to train and recruit
Interviewer bias communicated by
demeanor, tone of voice and
questioning style may influence
Mail Surveys or Self-Administered
This involves posting out the data collection instrument to the
respondents which they are required to complete in privacy and return.
It is relatively less expensive than
face to face interviews but costs
can increase if sample size is large.
It is convenient for distributing
large numbers of questionnaire in
a short time over large
Respondents can complete
questionnaire at their
convenience and privacy.
Respondents can check personal
information if memory fails.
It avoids interview bias.
Researcher will have to compile an up to date
mailing list of all persons to be included in the
Lower response rate than other methods of
Ineffective if respondents are not literate.
Slow response rate even though reminder
letters and incentives can be used to speed up
rate of return.
Researcher cannot control condition of the
This involves trained interviewers calling persons to collect data.
Possible coverage of wide
It is quicker and less expensive
than the face-to-face method.
Random digital dialing can be
used to make sampling easy.
High response rate possible.
Interviewer can control
Only people with telephones can be
High costs involved for long distance
calls; may need several call backs.
Respondents can terminate interview
by hanging up the phone.
Anonymity is limited.
Computer Assisted Telephone
This is similar to the telephone interview except that the responses are
immediately keyed into a computer to save time spent processing data.
The whole process is speeded
up because data is entered as
it is obtained.
Data is entered directly and
the subsequent transaction of
data processing are
If the respondent changes an
earlier answer during the
interview it is difficult to make
alterations than with paper
Getting a questionnaire up and
running fault free on CATI
system takes time
The Internet (On-Line Surveys)
This involves posting the questionnaire to a website and
respondents complete in online.
Working online is relatively
Responses can be collected
form a vast geographical area
Quick electronic capture of
data and easy compilation.
Anonymity is possible through
secure browsers and
Those with no internet access cant
Difficult to guarantee a representative
Multiple responses from the same
person is hard to detect.
Difficult to use open-ended questions.
The following methods or data collection are available:
The in-depth interview
In Depth Interview
This entails the interviewer asking questions, listening
and recording responses of those interviewed. There
are three types of in depth interviews:
1. Informal conversational interview
2. Semi-structured interview
3. Standard open ended interview.
It allows the researcher the
flexibility to ask questions in
The interviewer is able to
probe new information that
may immerge during
Large amount of detail is
The flowing nature of
conversation often generates
less systematic data that is
difficult and time consuming to
The flexibility allows the
interviewer to pursue certain
responses in greater detail.
The pre-determined list makes
the interview more systematic
Can’t guarantee honesty of
Flexibility of interview may
lessen its reliability.
Open-ended questions are
difficult to analyze.
It is difficult to compare
It minimizes variation in questions posed to respondents.
It ensures accuracy and consistency of questions asked.
It does not allow flexibility in dealing with situational changes or
individual differences that the researcher might occur.
This involves first hand identification, accurate description
and recording in a pre-determined phenomenon within the
There are two types of Observation:
1. Participant or Overt Observation
2. Direct or Covert Observation
It helps the researcher to
decide what questions to ask
Researchers are better able to
appreciate and understand the
factors that influence
When using the “participants
as observer format” the
researcher can lose objectivity
Observer can become
distracted and loose focus of
Observation may sometimes
be the only assessment
There can be no plagiarism or
It is a great way to assess
The validity of the observation
will become compromised if
respondents change their
behaviour because they know
they are under observation.
Small sample Size.
It is time consuming.
This includes historical documents, literature reviews and
personal documents (diaries and journals).
Good source of background
Provides a “behind the scenes”
look at a program
that may not be directly
May bring up issues not noted
by other means
Information may be inapplicable,
Unavailable or out of date
Could be biased because of
selective survival of information
Information may be incomplete
Can be time consuming to collect,
review, and analyze many