lec6 - Chapter 6 Methods of Data Collection (Note: For the...

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Chapter 6 Methods of Data Collection (Note: For the concept map that goes with this lecture, click here. Remember: concept maps help provide the big picture as well as show how the parts are interrelated.) The purpose of Chapter 6 is to help you to learn how to collect data for a research project. The term method of data collection simply refers to how the researcher obtains the empirical data to be used to answer his or her research questions. Once data are collected they are analyzed and interpreted and turned into information and results or findings. All empirical research relies on one or more method of data collection. It is important to consider and utilize the fundamental principle of mixed research during the planning of a research study. The principle states that researchers should mix methods (including methods of data collection as well as methods of research) in a way that is likely to provide complementary strengths and nonoverlapping weaknesses. We will provide you with additional tables (not in the chapter because of space limitations) for each method of data collection so that you can compare the strengths and weaknesses of each method of data collection and attempt to put together the match that will best serve your purpose and will follow the fundamental principle of mixed research. The focus in this chapter is on methods of data collection, not methods of research (which are covered in later chapters). There are six major methods of data collection. We will briefly summarize each of these in this lecture: Tests (i.e., includes standardized tests that usually include information on reliability, validity, and norms as well as tests constructed by researchers for specific purposes, skills tests, etc). Questionnaires (i.e., self-report instruments). Interviews (i.e., situations where the researcher interviews the participants). Focus groups (i.e., a small group discussion with a group moderator present to keep the discussion focused). Observation (i.e., looking at what people actually do). Existing or Secondary data (i.e., using data that are originally collected and then archived or any other kind of “data” that was simply left behind at an earlier time for some other purpose).
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Tests Tests are commonly used in research to measure personality, aptitude, achievement, and performance. The last chapter discussed standardized tests; therefore, we only have a brief discussion in this chapter. Note that tests can also be used to complement other measures (following the fundamental principle of mixed research). In addition to the tests discussed in the last chapter, note that sometimes, a researcher must develop a new test to measure the specific knowledge, skills, behavior, or cognitive activity that is being studied. For example, a researcher might need to measure response time to a memory task using a mechanical apparatus or develop a test to measure a specific mental or cognitive activity (which obviously cannot be
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lec6 - Chapter 6 Methods of Data Collection (Note: For the...

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