Qualitative Data collection tools
Two types of data collection methods are primary and secondary data collection methods (Patel & Davidson, 1994). Primary data can be collected through experiments, surveys, observation and personal interviews. However, primary data for qualitative research are different from the quantitative research.
The data collected for a particular research problem is known as Primary Data. With the primary data collection methods, a researcher can collect data through the direct responses of the participants. During the process, the participants could report their personal experience, attitudes and feelings to the researcher. As already mentioned, primary data is collected through interviews, surveys, experiments, and Field observations.
Most of the researchers collect qualitative data using interviews (Denzin & Lincoln, 1998). It is identified that the activities, attitudes and views of the participants could be easily interpreted with the help of these interviews (Walsham, 1995). Denzin and Lincoln (1998) categorized the interviews as structured interviews, semi-structured interviews and unstructured interviews. In structured interviews, the interviewer would follow the script/guidelines whereas in unstructured interviews, the interviewee would be questioned as per the idea of the interviewer. The researcher can adopt personal interviews, face-to-face group interviewing, and telephone surveys to collect primary data. In an in-depth interview, the interviewer could generate rich and detailed data from the responses of the interviewee. Usually, the researchers conduct in-depth interviews face to face. However, in some cases it can be done through telephone (Yin, 2003; Creswell, 2007; Neuman, 2003).
A combination of closed and open questions will be included in these questionnaires. It is used for business-to-business market research in which a wide range of different responses are evaluated.
Questions those could generate free responses will come under this category. They are called as guided conversations and referred to as a “topic guide”. They are mostly suitable for depth interviewing (face-to-face, depth telephone interviews).
Through observation, the researcher could monitor the behavior, events, or noting physical characteristics of the participants. This method can be used in both experimental and on experimental, social and anthropological research. Scientific observation is a methodical way of recognizing and noting a fact or occurrence, often involving some sort of measurement. Scientific observation should be specific, and recorded immediately (T aylor-Powell; Steele , 1996).
Types of observation
These observations can be of two types: overt and covert. In Overt observation, the participants will know that they are under observation whereas the observer is concealed and the participants are unaware of the observation in covert observation. As this approach is concealed, the participants would behave normally and naturally (T aylor-Powell; Steele, 1996).
Observations are also classified as direct and indirect observations. Direct observation will allow the researcher to monitor the interactions, processes, or behaviours and to determine whether they are delivering it with fidelity whereas indirect observations involve the assessment of the outcomes of interactions, processes, or behaviours.
In this approach, highly experienced researchers will form a Focus group comprising 10 to 18 participants and record their opinion and beliefs through in depth qualitative feedback. The research will probe into specific areas that are of interest to the company commissioning the research (Krueger, 1988).
Miscellaneous primary data collection methods
- Warranty cards
- Distributor or store Audits
- Pantry Audits
- Consumer panels
- Mechanical devices
- Depth interviews
- Content Analysis
- Projective Tests