Data Collection Instruments Accurate and systematic data collection is critical to conducting scientific research. Data collection allows us to collect information that we want to collect about our study objects. Depending on research type, methods of data collection include: documents review, observation, questioning, measuring, or a combination of different methods.
DATA –COLLECTION INSTRUMENTS
Research instruments, also called research tools, are the devices used to collect data. The instrument facilitates the observation and measurement of variables. The type of instrument used in a study will be determined by the data- collection method(s) selected. Developing an Instrument If no instrument can be discovered that is appropriate for a particular study the researcher may develop a new instrument. New reliability and validity testing well be needed to be conducted. Permission to revise the instrument will have to be obtained from the developer of the tool.
CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF A DATA-COLLECTION INSTRUMENT
There are several criteria to be considered when deciding on a data- collection-collection instrument, these include: Practicality of the instrument Reliability of the instrument Validity of the instrument. Practicality of the Instrument Before the researcher examines the reliability and validity of an instrument should be asked about the practicality of the tool for the particular study that is being planned The practicality of an instrument concerns its cost and appropriateness for study population. How much will the instrument cost? How long will it take to the instrument?
Reliability of the Instrument The reliability of an instrument concerns its consistency and stability. Example: If you are using a thermometer to measure body temperature, you would expect it to provide the same reading each time it was placed in a constant temperature water bath. Validity of the Instrument The validity of an instrument concerns its ability to gather the data that it is intended to gather. The content of the instrument is of prime importance in validity testing. If an instrument is expected to measure assertiveness, does it, in fact, measure assertiveness? The greater the validity of an instrument, the more confidence you can have that the instrument will obtain data that will answer the research questions or test the research hy- potheses.
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on targeted variables in an established system, which then enables one to answer relevant questions and evaluate outcomes. Data collection is a component of research in all fields of study including physical and social sciences, humanities, and business. While methods vary by discipline, the emphasis on ensuring accurate and honest collection remains the same. The goal for all data collection is to capture quality evidence that allows analysis to lead to the formulation of convincing and credible answers to the questions that have been posed.
Independent and dependable variables Dependent versus independent variables: Cause(s) Effect(s) (Independent variable) (Dependent variable) Many research studies are aimed at understanding the causes underlying phenomena. Does smoking cause lung cancer? The presumed cause is referred to as the independent variable, and the presumed effect is referred to as the dependent variable. So smoking is the independent variable and the lung cancer is the dependable variable.Independent and dependable variable. The dependent variable usually is the variable that the researcher is interested in understanding, explaining, or predicting.ex. In lung cancer research, it is the carcinoma that is of real interest to the research scientist, not smoking behavior per se. Many of the dependent variables that are studied by researchers have a multiplicity of causes .If we are interested in studying the factors that influence people’s weight, for example, we might consider their height, physical activity, and eating habits as the independent variables.
DATA-COLLECTION PROCESS There are five important questions to ask when the researcher is in the process of collecting data: This question calls for a decision to be made about the type of data that is being sought.
Example Is the study designed to measure knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors? The type of data that is being sought, of course, will also govern the how, who, where, and when of the data- collection process. The answers to all of these questions are interrelated, and it may be difficult to determine which question should be answered first.
Methods of Data collection: Self-report questionnaires Interviews Physiological measures Attitude scales Psychological tests Observational methods Other types Questionnaires have probably been the most frequently reported of data collection in published nursing studies.
Questionnaire design is a multi-step process. Questionnaires allow collection of both subjective and objective data in a large sample of the study population in order to obtain results that are statistically significant, specially when resources are limited. It is a good tool for the protection of the privacy of the participants. The validity of data and information depends on the honesty of the respondent. The questionnaires can measure both qualitative and quantitative data, but is it more appropriate for quantitative data collection.