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Survey Design

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Paper-based data collection has been around as long as humans have had an interest in understanding the world around them — tick marks on parchment were used by ancient civilizations to track food inventory, and in the 1800s the first known census was collected via pen and paper. Now, digital and cloud-based systems for data collection are rapidly increasing, but…

Numbers are everywhere and drive our day-to-day lives. We take decisions based on numbers, both at work and in our personal lives. For example, an organization may rely on sales numbers to see if it’s succeeding or failing, and a group of friends planning a vacation may look at ticket prices to pick a place. In the social domain, numbers…

Today’s news is filled with stories of data misuse — for example, Cambridge Analytica harvesting personal data via Facebook and Amazon, Facebook’s Android app logging metadata on every call and text, and Grindr revealing its users’ HIV status to third parties. These companies are being roundly criticized for misusing their users’ data. In the midst of this uproar, companies are…

Imagine that you want to understand why your mother loves making pancakes for breakfast. You could sneak around the kitchen, tracking when and how she makes pancakes, or you could just sit down and have a chat with her. Most people would agree that the chat will give a much better answer. If you want to understand people’s beliefs or…

Observational data is a valuable form of research that can give researchers information that goes beyond numbers and statistics. In general, observation is a systematic way to collect data by observing people in natural situations or settings. There are many different types of observation, each with its strengths and weaknesses. Participant vs. Non-Participant Observation Participant observation: the researcher is involved…

The most challenging part about designing any survey is to identify and create the right set of questions. Typically, there are two types of survey questions – open-ended questions and closed-ended questions. Let’s take a closer look at the following questions: What are closed-ended and open-ended questions?When do we use closed-ended and open-ended questions? What are some examples of the…

What Is a Focus Group Discussion? A focus group discussion (or FGD) is a qualitative research method in the social sciences, with a particular emphasis and application in the developmental program evaluation sphere. FGDs are a predetermined semi-structured interview led by a skilled moderator. The moderator asks broad questions to elicit responses and generate discussion among the participants. The moderator’s…

Any research is only as good as the data that drives it, so choosing the right technique of data collection can make all the difference. In this article, we will look at four different data collection techniques – observation, questionnaire, interview and focus group discussion – and evaluate their suitability under different circumstances. Observation Seeing is believing, they say. Making…