Collect data

Suggested time: 120 min.

Sometimes you need to go out into the world and collect your own data.

One of the best ways to get the information you need is to go out and get it yourselves Rather than finding secondary research in books and online, you can decide what you need to know, collect the data and collate it (primary research).

You can create a sample survey, which is a study that obtains data from a subset of a population (as opposed to a census which is the whole population). You might go on to create an observational study that attempts to find correlations between two sets of data.

Here is what you'll need

Paper, pen and pencils

Spreadsheet software

Follow these steps


Step 1: Decide

Decide what you want to measure. How will you collect the data? Will it be a survey, questionnaire or observation?


Step 2: Prepare

Prepare a table or simple method of tallying quantitative data. Or create a set of survey questions. Go out into the world and collect your results. Consider where you might find a random selection of relevant people.


Step 3: Collate

Collate your results. Create a graph using spreadsheet software.


Step 4: Generalise

See if you can generalise your results to a larger population (generalisability). This requires that your participants were randomly selected.


Step 5: Correlate

Look for patterns in your results. Are there correlations between two variables? Do they need further investigation? Don’t assume a cause-and-effect from your correlation (this is one of the biggest mistakes in research).


Step 6: Summarise

Summarise your most interesting findings. Include questions raised that need further research.

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