PROCEDURE FOR DATA COLLECTION:
The planning for research continues till a pilot study is conducted to see that the whole research design works. The next step is the stage of implementation. Before we actually act into the process of data collection, it is necessary to make a meticulous plan, so that data collection process is completed smoothly. By now the instrument is prepared and it is necessary to find out i) what data are to be collected? ii) From whom are the data to be collected? iii) Who will collect the data? iv) From where will the data be collected? And v) When is the data to be collected?
i) What data are to be collected
At this stage the researcher need to consult statistician to make sure that the type or the form of data that she gets would match data analysis plan. For example, certain statistical test can only be done if the level of data is interval or ratio. In this case the data has to be intervallratio level.
ii) From whom are the data to be collected?
This involves consideration on sample subjects. For example, who are the study subjects? How are they selected? How many are they? That is, the researcher needs to list the criteria for selection of the sample. In cities and cosmopolitan areas, institutions have established committees which review research proposals to assure the rights of human subjects. In fact one may call it th'e Committee on Human Rights. And, some governments will not sponsor research activities unless and until the rights of subjects are shown to be protected. This degree of development has not reached many villages; however, all plans for conducting research should be cleared with government and/or village authorities. Usually, a detailed project proposal is required indicating the nature of the study, the subjects involved, the kind of independent variable or treatment which will be introduced and by whom data would be collected. All activities, procedures, treatments, and/or methods must be delineated so that authorities can assess the study from a human rights point of view. This not only protects the villager, but protects the investigator as well.
iii) Who will collect the data?
One of the common questions asked is "who will collect the data'!" The researcher andor hislher team is solely responsible for collection of data. If you are going to collect data yourself, it is important to try out the procedure on a small sample on similar subjects. This is called pre-testing, and is often carried out during a pilot phase of research process. Pre-testing is a step in the development of the instrument. Besides its function in establishing reliability of the tool, it also helps the researcher in finding out whether the data collection procedure is feasible.