Describe your methods of data collection

Once you have introduced your overall methodological approach, you should give full details of the methods you used to conduct the research. Outline the tools, procedures and materials you used to gather data, and the criteria you used to select participants or sources.

Quantitative methods

 Surveys
Describe where, when and how the survey was conducted.

  • How did you design the questions and what form did they take (e.g. multiple choice, rating scale)?
  • What sampling method did you use to select participants?
  • Did you conduct surveys by phone, mail, online or in person, and how long did participants have to respond?
  • What was the sample size and response rate?

You might want to include the full questionnaire as an appendix so that your reader can see exactly what data was collected.

 Experiments
Give full details of the tools, techniques and procedures you used to conduct the experiment.

  • How did you design the experiment?
  • How did you recruit participants?
  • How did you manipulate and measure the variables?
  • What tools or technologies did you use in the experiment?

In experimental research, it is especially important to give enough detail for another researcher to reproduce your results.

 Existing data
Explain how you gathered and selected material (such as publications or archival data) for inclusion in your analysis.

  • Where did you source the material?
  • How was the data originally produced?
  • What criteria did you use to select material (e.g. date range)?
Quantitative methods example

The survey consisted of 5 multiple-choice questions and 10 questions that the respondents had to answer with a 7-point Likert scale. The aim was to conduct the survey with 350 customers of Company X on the company premises in The Hague from 4-8 July 2017 between 11:00 and 15:00. A customer was defined as a person who had purchased a product from Company X on the day of questioning. Participants were given 5 minutes to fill in the survey anonymously, and 408 customers responded. Because not all surveys were fully completed, 371 survey results were included in the analysis.

Choosing qualitative or quantitative research methodologies

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