Data Collection Techniques for a Successful Thesis


The thesis is the documental representation of the study or research being done on a specific topic during the postgraduate study in a university (Masters in particular). First is it necessary to define exactly what do you want to achieve from this research and make sure is the topic really worth your time by reading through the preliminary reading of the existing literature about the topic. Also the candidate must emphasize on congregating more experiential data about the subject. In order to achieve this, you can either do a field-based research or complete study of the existing literature reviews on the subject matter.

Data Collection methods are a very significant part of any research so is the method hosen and the time associated with it. According to a Bachelor’s thesis article from a renowned university in Sweden, it has been found that the data collections methods being used during the research do have a direct impact on the tuition rates. This is because the longer the students might take to gather significant data for their research, the duration of their postgraduate studies do increase and so does the tuition fees

Research Methods

This is a guide that helps candidates to figure out the means in which they would be approaching the research-based questions. The methods present can be classified as Qualitative & Quantitative. The students must also keep in mind that not all research methods will be particularly helpful with their thesis hence they must be wise and make sure that the method being chosen does fulfill the purpose of the thesis work.

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Now we will see the basic differences between the two approaches of research.

Focuses on comprehensive and thorough description Classifies features, produce statistical models to elaborate the process
Elementary knowledge on the subject matter is adequate. An advanced knowledge on the subject is a must in order to proceed with the research.


Designs transpire as the study advances Characteristics of research are being studied before the collection of data.


Data is in the form of words, pictures, etc. Information is being offered as number and statistics
Subjective – focuses on an individual’s perspective on the topic and can be gathered in the form of in-depth interviews with the participants


Objective – Demands accurate measurements and analysis (no generalization)
Tuitions/ Instructions required No tuitions/instructions are required to be given


Data Collection Methods

The focus is on how each of the methods as described above and the different way to obtain the information under a particular method.

Quantitative Methods

  1.     Questionnaires – The most common technique that is being used that can be managed directly by the research candidate who drafts it. This is known as self-reporting. A limitation of this method, over the other types of data collection methods is that there are no means to determine the accuracy of the facts being provided as circumstances might lead participants to lie.
  2.        Existing Databases– Secondary data can be used along with the survey data which includes census data, knowledge/attribute/behavioral studies, etc. However, a constraint of this technique is that much of the data that have been obtained can be extremely obsolete, hence would not have any relevance while the research is being done.

Qualitative Methods

  1.     Observations – Perceive the ongoing activities instead of asking the audience involved, directly. This facilitates in understanding the social and behavioral perspectives.

Even though the information obtained via this method, is quantifiable and much more precise than the questionnaire method, it too has its own flaws. The data collected using this methodology does not help in analyzing the attitudes, beliefs, thoughts, etc. Another error of this manner is that subjects tend to change behavior too often, so the behavior once observed cannot be held accurate at times.

Observations can either be done under formal or casual settings, depending on the preferences of the researchers involved in the study.

Also an observer could also be a participant who is also the association of the group under surveillance or a non-participant who is not linked with the group being observed.

        In-Depth Interviews – These are questions being asked to individuals who can act as a source of a rich base of information that would extremely helpful while proceeding on with the research. The questions are generally flexible.

Interviews can be categorized as structured and semi-structured.

In a structured interview, the researcher strictly adheres to the set of questions he/she have prepared to ask, while in a semi-structured interviews, the investigator is able to ask questions apart from the ones being prepared beforehand.

                III.            Focus Groups – This is similar to the interviewing method; nevertheless, the primary difference is that while the interview is being done with one person at a time, focus groups do consist of several individuals who are being asked questions at the very same time.


As we have discussed in this article, there are several methods so it is quite complicated to say which the best method amongst all is as the preferences for the methodology do depend from research to research. So the method to choose is best left upon to the candidates who would be using them.

Raul H. Powell

He is the content developer and freelance writer. He writes a lot of article on his carrier. Last one year he is working with Smile Tutor as a content developer and a writer. He has a expertise on writing an article on various types of online tutorial. He also wants to promote such kind of work to develop the skill.


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