Date of publication: 2017-09-04 18:39
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Observations require well-trained observers who follow detailed guidelines about whom or what to observe, when and for how long, and by what method of recording. The primary advantage of observation is its validity. When done well, observation is considered a strong data collection method because it generates firsthand, unbiased information by individuals who have been trained on what to look for and how to record it. Observation does require time (for development of the observation tool, training of the observers, and data collection), making it one of the costlier methods.
The Outcome Measurement Resource Network (United Way of America):
The Resource Network offers information, downloadable documents, and links to resources related to the identification and measurement of program- and community-level outcomes.
There is no consensus about how to actually undertake most research. Now you are ready to think about planning your overall approach to collecting data. Data is effectively another word for information that can be found through secondary or primary data collection . It is important that you understand all the various ways of collecting data so that you can decide which to use for your own research.
In sum, there are a large number of options to choose from. Your task is to make an informed decision and to be able to explain your choice in research methodology chapter of your report. You find a list of interview forms including references at the end of this chapter for further information.
Qualitative and quantitative research methods are not clear-cut nor mutually exclusive – most research draws on both methods. Both approaches can generate quantitative and qualitative data. The difference between the two methods is in the overall form and in the emphasis and objectives of the study. The following chart might help you to decide what approach to use with certain methods and tools:
In dealing with previous knowledge and personal bias resulting from it, you need to train holding back or working with your own thoughts, feelings, convictions and expectations. A prerequisite is that you are aware of your biases and that you can explicit them. This is a requirement for overcoming selective attention. During the process of conducting the study, you need to be prepared for the effects that this may have on you. You need to be prepared for having to revise your previous knowledge.