Diagnosis is a critical process that involves data collection, interpretation and identification of problem area. Critically discuss the method of data collection and provide their strength and weakness in diagnosis process.
Weakness and strength of Primary and secondary data
1It’s true that, diagnosis is a critical process that involves data collection, interpretation andidentification of problem area. The following are the methods of data collection as well as theirstrength and weakness in diagnosis process.Data can be defined as the quantitative or qualitative values of a variable. Data can be numbers,images, words, figures, facts or ideas. Data in itself cannot be understood and to get informationfrom the data one must interpret it into meaningful informationData Collection is the process of collecting and preparing data for the purpose of obtaininginformation to keep record and make decisions. In collecting data there are two main methodsthat are normally used. These methods include primary and secondary data.Primary DataPrimary data is the method of data collection where by someone collected the data from originalsources. Under Primary data, the methods used to collect data involve experiment, surveys,questionnaire, observations, interview, and sociometric approach.Using Primary data as the method of data collection during the diagnosis process has its ownstrength and weakness as follows;The strength of using primary data in diagnosis processTargeted Issues are addressedPrimary data are collected in regards of specific issues or problems at hand by using proceduresthat fit the problem best. The organization can much concentrate and address issues specific to itsown situation. Primary data reveals problems for which timely remedial measures may beinstitutedEfficient Spending for InformationPrimary data collections focus on issues specific to improve the chances that organizations’funds will be spent efficiently. Primary data collection is designed to collect the information thatthe organization wants to know and consultants report it in ways that benefit the organization.For example, while information reported with secondary data may not fit the organizations’needs, no such problem exists with primary data collection since consultants get data from thefield.Unbiased informationPrimary data is more of objectivity rather than subjectivity since it is extracted from the field.There are no personal biases or misleading information. This justifies that it is easy to measure
2validity and reliability of the data by using primary data collection methods in the diagnosisprocess. First-hand information obtained from the field is always valid and trustworthy. Primarydata collection is more authentic if the methods chosen to analyze and interpret data are valid andreasonably suitable for the data type.It is very much on participation for responses and realityThe use of questionnaire and interviews facilitates full participation of the respondents and it isalways easy to understand the respondents’ feelings, attitudes, experiences, opinions andperception toward the matter, problem or particular issues. To ensure valid responses, interviewquestions must be carefully designed, evaluated and tested.Greater ControlNot only does primary data collection enable the consultant to focus on specific issues, it alsoenables him/her to have a higher level of control over how the information is collected. In thisway the consultant can decide about his/her set or size of respondents (e.g., how manyresponses), detect the problem areas (e.g., department, whole organization) and time frame forcompleting the data collection process. The collected data can be examined and interpreted bythe consultants depending on their needs rather than relying on the interpretation made bycollectors of secondary data. Some primary data can, in fact, be used for predictions ofalternative solutions.Weakness of using primary data in diagnosis processTime consumingMost of the primary data collection methods take time from preparation throughout obtaininginformation. Also it requires development and execution of research plan which also takes time.High costCompared to secondary data, primary data may be very expensive since there is a great deal inpreparation, designing and carrying out questionnaire, interviews, survey, observations andexperiments.Inaccurate feedbackIn case the research involves taking feedbacks from the targeted respondents thus, there is highchance that feedback given is not correct and biased. A person may give the feedback just foranswering the question. On the other hand, the major disadvantage of primary data is that it hasdesign problems like how to design the surveys. The questions must be simple andunderstandable. Some respondents do not give timely responses. Sometimes, the respondentsmay give fake, socially acceptable and sweet answers and try to cover up the realities. In some
3primary data collection methods there is no control over the data collection. Incompletequestionnaire always give a negative feedback.It require large amount of resourcesLeaving aside cost and time, other resources like human resources and materials are needed inlarger quantity to do surveys, conducting questionnaire, and experiments. Most of consultantslack these important resources.Secondary dataSecondary data is the data that has been already collected by and readily available from othersources. Such data are cheaper and quickly obtainable than primary data. These data may beobtained from many sources, including literature, government Records, E-journals,magazines/newspapers, industry surveys, compilations from computerized databases andinformation systems. Normally these data are generated from other organization for the purposethat can be used as a reference in identifying problem areas such as performance, production.Secondary data also have weakness and strength as follows;Strength of using secondary data in diagnosis processTime savingIt saves time that would otherwise be spent collecting data. Due to the availability of informationabout consultation from different organizations, consultant may use a very short time to obtainthe data required for intervention. Therefore it may lead to better time securing.Low cost to acquire the dataThe use of secondary data allows consultants to access valuable information for little or no costto acquire. This information is much less expensive than carrying out primary data collectionmethods although the cost can vary widely depending on the type of the document and how farone must travel in order to gain access or obtain the data.Easy to access dataSecondary data is relatively easy to obtain. Recently information can be available on line [e.g.E˗Journals, Weblogs, and Websites]. Also available in books, government records, journals,magazine and news papers. This offers convenience and general standardize usage methods forall sources of secondary data.May answer the targeted problems or issuesThe use of secondary data collection method is often used to faster the access to relevantinformation. When focusing on secondary data, the consultants may realize that the exactinformation they were looking to uncover is already available through secondary sources. Thiswould effectively eliminate the need and expense to carry out the primary data collection.
4Provide bases for comparisonSecondary data collection provides a wide range to consultants to obtain and compare some newideas which other organizations used to solve the likely problems and prove to be effective andefficient for the targeted issues. Although, documents vary tremendously in quality, manydocuments, such as journals, articles, books, papers, written by professional consultants may bemore valuable than, for example poor responses from the questionnaire or interviews.Ensures no duplicationSecondary data can also ensure that there is no duplication of an investigation already made. Italso helps in the formulation of specific questions, assumptions, framework, methods, samplingtechniques, implications, and conclusions.Weaknesses of using secondary data in diagnosis processIncomplete informationIn many cases consultants find information that appears to be valuable and promising. But toobtain the full vision of valuable study of information is difficult. This is due to confidentialityand expensive charge in literature.Data may be outdated or inaccuracyAlthough one of the advantages of secondary data is that comparison which may be madebetween the past information and the presence events, but due to drastic changes over time totime in environment and technology, secondary data may have little or no relevance to thecurrent situation and using such outdated data may provide misleading information unlesscorrections are made.More subjective and biasSometimes when using secondary data a consultant can obtain information which are notrealistic to the current situation where by such data may lack the quality of objectivity. Examplepersonal documents such as articles, autobiographies, journals are often written by famouspeople or people who have a lot of experience and professionalism such as having been a witnessto a specific event. While often providing a unique and valuable secondary data, these documentsusually are written for the purpose of making money and normally exaggerated even fabricatedto make good stories. They also tend to include those events that make the issue or problem lookeasier and exclude those events that are very difficult and tough to approach.Not specific to the consultants’ needs and can lack qualityIn many cases most secondary data are not presented in a form that meets the consultant needs asthey lack control over the framing and wording of the data and normally the questions important
5to the study or problems are not included in the data. Therefore secondary data just provideinformation which is at least similar to the problem/issue. This is because the data wereoriginally collected for a different purpose and therefore may not be optimal for the targetedproblems or issues of the organization. In the case of quality, the information may bequestionable based on its validity and reliability [how well can the data meet the qualityrequirement of the current situation].Generally, both primary and secondary data are useful in the process of diagnosis, althoughsecondary data is less expensive than primary data; its not as accurate, or as useful, as specific asprimary data. The reliability of secondary data is not always assured. The best thing about usingprimary data collection methods is the consultant will be presented with original and unbiaseddata. Unlike the secondary data collection methods, the consultant will directly interact with thesource of information and get the data that is original and not analyzed to suit specific problemsor issues.
6REFERENCESWendell L French; Cecil Bell Organization Development Behavioral Science Interventions forImprovement, Englewood Cliffs, N.J, Prentice-Hall.Bradford, D.L & Burke, W.W. eds, . Organization Development, San Francisco: Pfeiffer.Cummings, Thomas G,; Worley, Christopher G, Organization Development & Change,Thomson South Western.Http: II: www.slideshare.net/hezc/3210/primary- secondary data.