Government, manufacturing industries, advertising firms, non-governmental organizations conduct data collection just to gather information regarding views, opinions and reactions form the public or the target consumer and use it for various decisions and actions.
Data collection just does not help the companies to launch new products or know about the public reaction to a specific issue, it is a very useful tool for statistical inferences, once the collected data is compiled. The process of data collection is the third step of the six step market research processes. Data collection can be done in two ways involving various technicalities. In this article, we shall give a brief overview of the same.
Data collection can be done in two ways – secondary data and primary data. Secondary data collection involves is the information available in books, journals, previous researches or studies and the Internet. It basically involves making use of the data already present to build or substantiate a concept.
On the other hand, primary data collection is the process of data collection through questionnaire by directly asking respondents of their opinions. Forming the right questionnaire is the most important aspect of data collection. The researcher conducting the data collection just has to be aware of the process. He should have a clear idea about the information sought by the concerned party.
Besides, the data collection officer should be able to construct the questionnaire in such a way so as to elicit the responses needed. Having constructed the questionnaire the researcher should identify the target sample. To illustrate the point clearly, we shall look into the following example.
Suppose, data collection is aimed from an area A, then, if all the residents of the data are given the questionnaire, it is called a census or in other words data collection is done from all the individuals of the specified area. One of the most common examples of data collection done by the government is census. For example the population census conducted by the US Census Bureau every ten years. On the other hand, if only twenty or thirty percent of the population living in area A are given the questionnaire, the mode of data collection would be called sampling.
The data collected from the target sample with a well-defined questionnaire will project the response of the entire population living in the area. Data collected from a sample helps to control the cost and time spent on collecting data from the population. Sample is a part of population.
Data collection just gets easier from the target sample with the help of a pretested questionnaire, which is later analyzed using statistical tests like ANOVA, Chi Square test and so on. These tests help the researcher to infer the result obtained from the data collection.
Market research/data collection is a fast growing and lucrative career option now days. One has to undertake a course in marketing, statistics and research before starting out. It is indeed very important to have a through understanding of various concepts and the theories related. Some basic terminologies related to data collection are: census, incidence, sample, population, parameters, sampling frames and so on.
There are numerous jobs available from research agencies like A.C Nielsen, fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies or advertising firms, some government agencies, international developmental organizations and so on.