Definition: The Data Collection is a process by which the researcher collects the information from all the relevant sources to find answers to the research problem, test the hypothesis and evaluate the outcomes.
While collecting the data, the researcher must identify the type of data to be collected, source of data, and the method to be used to collect the data. Also, the answers to the questions that who, when and where the data is to be collected should be well addressed by the researcher.
The choice of data collection methods depends on the research problem under study, the research design and the information gathered about the variable. Broadly, the data collection methods can be classified into two categories:
- Primary Data Collection Methods: The primary data are the first-hand data, collected by the researcher for the first time and is original in nature. The researcher collects the fresh data when the research problem is unique, and no related research work is done by any other person. The results of the research are more accurate when the data is collected directly by the researcher but however it is costly and time-consuming.
- Secondary Data Collection Methods: When the data is collected by someone else for his research work and has already passed through the statistical analysis is called the secondary data. Thus, the secondary data is the second-hand data which is readily available from the other sources. One of the advantages of using the secondary data is that it is less expensive and at the same time easily available, but however the authenticity of the findings can be questioned.
Thus, the researcher can obtain data from either of the sources depending on the nature of his study and the pursued research objective.