In Market Research there are certain key areas that need a lot of conscious efforts to keep the essence and productivity of whole activity intact. Ace Research put great stress on data collection as it is a very sensitive part of the whole research and demands a thorough understanding as well as a market assessment of numerous factors as to analyze the availability, access, confidentiality, transparency, and adherence to pre-defined norms and standards of data collection. furthermore, we have compiled some key points, that should be taken into account before formulating any research Strategy.
Responsibilities of Data Collectors
- Before initiating a new survey, determine whether data already available from your organization or publicly available data can be used to meet an emerging information need.
- One who has assigned with the task of data collection or team at large should be familiar with relevant laws, regulations, or administrative procedures that may affect the data collection activity. Also, Make respondents aware of these laws if they might affect participation, responses, or uses of the data.
- Take steps to minimize the time, cost, and effort required of data providers. Schedule the data collection, to the extent possible, at the convenience of the data providers and with adequate time to respond.
- Learn the work cycles of the respondents. Make sure the respondent can provide accurate data for the requested item.
- Keep the survey as short as possible. Ensure that the response burden does not exceed a reasonable length and is justified by the use of the data. Examine each item in the data collection instrument to make sure that the information is needed and will be used.
- Avoid requesting information that is of marginal use. Avoid requesting data that can be obtained from another available survey or database.
- Whenever possible, test the survey for “understandability” and respondent effort through focus groups, cognitive laboratory sessions, or pilot testing. The purpose of these activities is to ensure that: Each item is understandable to the respondent and technical terms used are appropriate to the respondent. The questions are clear and unambiguous to the respondent, items elicit a single response and survey is not too much of a burden for the respondent.
- Seek periodic review of the survey instrument from experienced, knowledgeable individuals.
Designing the Data Collection Instrument
- Provide clear and detailed instructions for completing the data collection instrument.
- Provide definitions and clarifying information for individual items and terms. Make definitions of data elements consistent with standard definitions and analytic conventions (i.e., calculations or methodologies) when appropriate and feasible.
- Determine whether another organization is already collecting data related to the items you plan to collect; if so, obtain a copy of that survey and consider using the same definitions and analytic conventions as a starting point for your survey. Any deviations from accepted usage should be explained.
- Indicate subpopulations to include and/or exclude in the reporting. Be clear about the date or time period the survey should reflect.
- Use standard language. Avoid jargon and abbreviations. Keep questions short and simple, make categories as concrete as possible. Use simple and exact terms. If response categories are supposed to be mutually exclusive and exhaustive, make sure all possible categories are included on the survey. If in doubt about whether categories are exhaustive, include a response option of “other, please specify.”
- If data may be unknown or missing, be sure to include an “unknown/missing” option. Provide a “not applicable” response for questions that may not be applicable to all respondents. Do not combine two separate ideas inappropriately and request a single response.
- Design the item sequence of the survey such that it increases the respondent’s ability to complete the survey. Keep topic-related questions together and provide transitions between topics. Be sure that return address, fax number, and contact information are included on the form itself as well as in accompanying the letter. Consider including an addressed, postage-paid envelope to return the survey.
Distributing the Data Collection Instrument
- Provide multiple options for respondents to submit data, including electronically, Alert respondents to any changes in long-standing survey items.
- Include a section on the survey for respondents to suggest changes or point out problems. If respondents are asked to submit multiple documents or other materials, provide a checklist for each of the items to be submitted.
Explanatory information that should accompany the Survey
- Purposes of the data collection activities and how data will be used Also, Importance of respondents’ participation and Confidentiality of response, if appropriate.
- The methodology used for data collection. Describe how missing data will be treated.
- If the database or survey response is to be supplemented with information from other sources, describe those data and their sources.
- If survey instruments vary for different types of institutions, describe the significant differences. Indicate how many years of data will be publicly available or archived.
Survey Follow-up ‘Perform edit checks on the data’
- Identify and correct or delete strange or discrepant data, missing data, or, if appropriate, unusually high or low data values. Reconcile any data inconsistencies with the respondent and rectify, if necessary, in the database.
- If appropriate, provide the respondent with a verification copy of the information or draft report before publication; make any requested changes before publication.
- Provide the respondent with a summary of results or final copy of the report, or if feasible, the database itself.
- Consider sending thank you notes to respondents.
Reporting and Publication
- Describe the sampling methodology and sampling universe used in the study.
- Indicate when the data were collected and/or the date of publication (month and year at a minimum), so that readers can tell how current the information is.
- Report response rates for the survey as a whole as well as for individual items.
- If data are imputed for non-responses, indicate the methodology used and the percent of cases that were imputed.