Collecting data is a necessary skill for any individual. Data is used in a variety of situations, such as writing up research reports in school, finding a specific item or getting necessary information for a job. Regardless of the reason for the data, there are similar tools used to find information and collect data.

Computer and Internet

The Internet can collect a wide range of data in a short period of time. A simple search through a search engine will result in several websites that are useful for data collection. Though the Internet has a large amount of information available, there are weaknesses as well. The main weakness when looking for data on the Internet is inaccurate information or inappropriate websites for the necessary information. When looking for data online, finding legitimate websites takes time. School websites and government websites are a good source of accurate information. Depending on the necessary data, organization websites are also legitimate.

Surveys

Surveys are an excellent data collection tool. These are useful in businesses, mental health studies, school projects or any other data collection that requires information from a large number of people. Surveys ask specific questions that are filled out by individuals. The answers provided in the survey provide data about a variety of subject, such as customer satisfaction about specific products or services.

Interviews

Interviews are a data collection method that is used to gain information about a specific subject. Interviews are commonly given to experts in a specific field, such as interviewing a psychologist that specializes in children’s mental health when collecting data about a childhood mental health problem. Interviews are commonly used by news reporters to gain first-hand information about a specific story.

Observation

Data collection is not always about asking questions or researching online, but also about paying attention and observing as well. This is first-hand data rather than second-hand data from another source. Observation data collection includes specific items that are measured, seen or that others can reproduce.

Books

Books are a primary tool for data collection. While old books might have outdated information, even old books are used for historical studies or data collection. There are books available about any subject that ranges from mythology to history to science and math. The wide range of subjects available in books allows for finding data about any specific subject. One of the main weaknesses with collecting data from a book is locating the necessary data and time constraints. Books are available for free reading and researching from libraries around the country.