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Data Gathering Advantage and disadvantage

Data Gathering Tools Journals Advantage It is economical. It saves efforts and expenses. It is time saving. It helps to make primary data collection more specific since with the help of secondary data, we are able to make out what are the gaps and deficiencies and what additional information needs to be collected. It helps to improve the understanding of the problem. It provides a basis for comparison for the data that is collected by the researcher Good for formative evaluation Can be low cost Permit flexibility People easily relate to images because they are so pervasive in our society. Images provide an opportunity for the participant to share directly their perceptions of reality. Images such as videotapes and films, for example, provide extensive data about real life as people visualize it Disadvantage

Applicability of research objective. Cost of acquisition. Accuracy of data.

Meetings and Attendance

Possible bias if participants feel unable to be truthful

Audiovisual materials ( Video tapes, Audio tapes and Photos)

They are difficult to analyze because of the rich information. Researcher may influence the data collected. in selecting the photo album to examine or requesting that a certain type of drawing be sketched, researcher may impose his/her meaning of the phenomenon on participants, rather than obtain the participants views May be incomplete May be inaccurate; questionable authenticity Locating suitable documents may pose challenges Analysis may be time consuming Access may be difficult

Records tests, report cards, Anecdotal records

Available locally Inexpensive Grounded in setting and language in which they occur Useful for determining value, interest, positions, political climate, public attitudes, historical trends or sequences Provide opportunity for study of trends over time Unobtrusive

Case studies

Fully depicts peoples experience in program input, process, and results Powerful way of portraying program to outsiders Administration is comparatively inexpensive and easy even when gathering data from large numbers of people spread over wide geographic area Reduces chance of evaluator bias because the same questions are asked of all respondents Many people are familiar with surveys Some people feel more comfortable responding to a survey than participating in an interview Tabulation of closed-ended responses is an easy and straightforward process Inexpensive. Can be administered quickly if distributed to a group. Well suited for simple and short questionnaires. Useful for gaining insight and context into a topic Allows respondents to describe what is important to them Useful for gathering quotes and stories .

Usually quite time consuming to collect information, organize and analyze it Represents depth of information rather than breadth

Surveys and Questionnaires

Survey respondents may not complete the survey resulting in low response rates Items may not have the same meaning to all respondents Size and diversity of sample will be limited by peoples ability to read Given lack of contact with respondent, never know who really completed the survey Unable to probe for additional details Good survey questions are hard to write and they take considerable time to develop and hone


No control for misunderstood questions, missing data, or untruthful responses. Not suited for exploration of complex issues.


Time consuming and expensive compared to other data collection methods May seem intrusive to the respondent Susceptible to interview bias


Enables the individual to be evaluated on various levels. Highlights all of an individuals skill

Participant might need individual help E-portfolios require some technical skills as well as available soft- and hardware

sets. Extra-curricular activities are also highlighted Allowing the reader to understand the different dimensions of the individual. Empower individuals to connect their formal education, work experience and extra-curricular activities.


The open format of a diary allows respondents to answer in detail and gives the respondent opportunity to clarify the meaning of their response. The accuracy and quality of data collected within a diary survey is high. It is possible that responses will reveal the unexpected.

Respondents may become conditioned to the survey. They may become more aware of their behavior and adjust their behavior accordingly to comply more with the norms of society. Diaries are time consuming and may become tedious, if a diary is to be fully completed over a reasonable period. Diaries often suffer from what is known as first day effects. This is where respondents are diligent for the first day of the collection period, entering accurately and promptly their response. After the first day their enthusiasm for the survey may wane and their responses become less prompt, meaning that the accuracy of their inputs will rely on memory.

Field notes

Very simple to gather data. Provide a good ongoing record and can be used as a diary in order to give continuity

Time consuming Feld notes can be highly subjective Conversation is difficult to record by field notes. The researcher is hard to write down everything while observing

Focus groups

Quick and relatively easy to set up Group dynamics can provide useful information that individual data collection does not provide Is useful in gaining insight into a topic that may be more difficult to gather information through other data collection methods

Discussion can be dominated or sidetracked by a few individuals Data analysis is time consuming and needs to be well planned in advance Does not provide valid information at the individual level The information is not representative of other groups Susceptible to facilitator bias

Participant observation

Collect data where and when an event or activity is occurring Does not rely on peoples willingness to provide information Directly see what people do rather than relying on what they say they do

Hawthorne effect people usually perform better when they know they are being observed Does not increase understanding of why people behave the way they do Susceptible to observer bias