9. Understanding Data Collection Techniques

Reflective Exercise 1

Think about the possible strengths and weaknesses of surveys and interviews as data collection techniques.

The types of things you may consider are:

  • Surveys
    • Strengths: ability to reach a wide geographical sample, confidential data capture, potential for online delivery and response which saves time and resources.
    • Weaknesses: low response rates, may alienate certain participants, limited written responses.
  • Interviews
    • Strengths: capture qualitative data, can be conducted by telephone which saves resources or face-to-face to allow observed responses and clarification.
    • Weaknesses: can be resource intensive, power issues can arise, can limit anonymity.

Reflective Exercise 2

Look at the article listed below at SAGE online journals and consider:

  • What type of interviewing was used?
  • Could alternative methods have been used to capture this data and what could they have been?

Gellerstedt, L., Medin, J. and Karlsson, M. (2013). Patients’ experiences of sleep in hospital: a qualitative interview study. Journal of Research in Nursing. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1744987113490415

This article uses a face-to-face interviewing method. It was a suitable approach. Focus groups might have been used but this approach may not capture individual in depth data. Telephone interviews might have been used as an alternative- whilst some patients may have preferred this approach, some may have been less happy to contribute, preferring a face-to-face discussion.