Data Collection and Handling

What is Data Collection?

  • We can define data collection as the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in a systematic fashion that helps one to answer stated research questions, evaluate outcomes and test hypotheses.

  • The data collection component of research is generally common to all fields of study including humanities, business, etc.

  •  The primary importance of data collection in any business process as it helps to determine many significant things about the performance of the company. So, the data collection process plays a vital role in all the streams. Depending on the type of data, the data collection method is divided into two categories ,

  1. Primary Data Collection methods

  2. Secondary Data Collection methods

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The Importance of Ensuring Accurate and Appropriate Data Collection

Here Are The Consequences from Improperly Collected Data –

The inability to answer research questions accurately.

The inability to repeat and validate the study.

It leads to distorted findings resulting in wasted resources.

It leads to compromising decisions for public policy.

It causes harm to human participants and animal subjects.

What is Data Handling?

Data handling can be defined as the method of performing statistical analysis on the given data. Now, you would think what is Data? Why do we need data? Data can be defined as individual pieces of information, information about a particular system. The average human body temperature measures as  37oC, which is data. Data can be made useful by data collection, data organization and this data can finally process through data analysis and finally it is depicted with the help of graphs or charts.

For example if someone asks you how old you are, you reply to them with a number, correct. Do you know that you just handled data! Your age is a data, your height is a data and your roll numbers are all data! Now every single person in the world is constantly interacting with data and generating data; you messages, your mails all contain data in large quantities. 

What you handle day to day in our life is known as Raw Data and this kind of data by itself does not have any meaning until. Let’s take any test you may have recently had at the school. You have a fixed and you know the number of students in your class. The marks that you obtain are the data here. You can see that your marks by themselves don’t mean much to anyone but they do mean to you right? If I wanted to know how your class performed in the test then just your data is no good. It's only when the data is organized and processed that it is useful to us.  

What Is A Collection of Data?

Collection of data is more important than organizing data is. Suppose that you want to find out the marks your friend has obtained in a particular test. So you go to your teacher and ask to have a look at his paper but your teacher says that he cannot give you the answer sheet and she can only tell you the marks. So your teacher tells you that the marks in the subject and you note these marks down and go to your friend. On your way you suddenly notice that your friend has scored exactly the same marks as you have scored. Is this a coincidence? What happened here was that the teacher told you your own marks assuming that you were there to ask your marks. So the entire data you have collected is wrong. In the concept of data handling, it is extremely important to know what the same data is being collected for before we actually collect it.

Organization of Data

We know that data needs to be always presented in a contextual and an organized manner! Here’s an example, you must definitely have seen the old yellow pages. They were these huge books that used to have the name and number of every resident of a particular city. So that book contained the names and numbers of thousands of people. So if you go to a city you’ve never been to before and you want to meet any of your friends who you know live in that city, then all you need to do is flip through the yellow pages and you’ll find his name and number there , this makes the task easy! 

To make such a book, you need a lot of numbers from a lot of people .Receiving numbers is the easy bit. If you send a bunch of people around the town enquiring for people’s phone numbers, soon enough you will have a considerable amount of data. For this data to be useful, the data will have to be arranged so that it helps in searching quickly. In the yellow pages, the names are arranged alphabetically which means you can easily look for it just like you would in a dictionary. That would help in tracking names down easily.

Types of Data-

Data handling methods can be performed based on the types of data. The data is generally classified into two types, such as:

  1. Qualitative Data

  2. Quantitative Data

Qualitative data can be defined as something that gives us descriptive information about something whereas quantitative data can be defined as something that gives numerical information about something. Here, the quantitative data can be further divided into two. They are discrete and continuous data. The discrete data can take only certain values for example whole numbers. The continuous data can take a value within the provided range.

How to Represent Data?

The data can be usually represented in any one of the following ways:

  1. Bar Graph

  2. Line Graphs

  3. Pictographs

  4. Histograms

  5. Stem and Leaf Plot

  6. Dot Plots

  7. Frequency Distribution

  8. Cumulative Tables and Graphs

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. How do you manage data collection?

Here are some tips to simplify your data collection, so you can spend less time managing your data and more time analyzing it.

Step 1) You need  to establish a process.

Step 2)then you need to determine which types of data you need. 

Step 3)You need to establish clear objectives. 

Step 4)In step 4 you need to measure.

Step 5) Then you need to use multi-faceted systems to collect data. 

Step 6) Lastly, you want to improve the readability of your visuals.

2. What is data collection used for and what are methods of data collection?

Data collection helps a person or organization to answer relevant questions, evaluate outcomes and make proper predictions about future probabilities and trends. Accurate data collection is important to maintain the integrity of research and make informed business decisions .


The most commonly used methods are as follows:

1) Published literature sources

2) Surveys (email and mail)

3) Interviews (telephone, face-to-face or focus group)

4)Observations, documents and records, and experiments