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Research Guide: Data collection techniques

This Guide provides post graduate students with the tips and tools necessary to successfully complete their research.

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Statistical Software Access - contacts and 'how-to'

Procedure for requesting software to install on personal computer:

UP registered students can request software (including To have IBM SPSS, Atlas.ti, Qualtrics and Stataon the Service Management Automation portlet on the UP portal by typing the software name on the search tab, then Request Service then follow the prompts.

Download Free software on personal computer.

  1. Download R and R studio
  2. Download Tableau Public
  3. Download Python
  4. SAS Statistical Software Download

Software on Research Commons computers

R , IBM SPSS and Atlas.ti  are installed on all Hatfield and Groenkloof Research Commons computers. The Veterinary Research Commons has SPSS & ArcGIS installed.


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Data collection techniques

Under the main three basic groups of research methods (quantitative, qualitative and mixed), there are different tools that can be used to collect data. Interviews can be done either face-to-face or over the phone. Surveys/questionnaires can be paper or web based. Observations and experiments can be conducted to collect either quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of the two methods. Records can also be used to study previous information by other researchers.  

Data Collection Checklist

  1. Ask right questions

  • What are the main objective (s) and specific objective (s)?
  • What is the problem you are trying to solve?

  1. Getting ready for data collection

  • What type of data do you need to answer your questions? Qualitative, quantitative or mixed
  • Are you going to use primary or secondary data?
  • How are you going to collect the data you need?
  • Surveys methods? E.g. face-to-face, mailed, web-based, and telephonic.
  • What is your sample and sample size?
  • Do you have ethical clearance?
  • Data collection duration?
  • How are you going to avoid biases?
  • How are you going to capture your data? Spreadsheets
  • Which analytical tool are you going to use? R, SPSS, SAS, etc.


  • Begin with the end in mind - know what message you want to get across
  • Ask questions to reflect on both the research problem to be solved and valid results
  • Set reasonable expectation
  • Understand how to collect or generate data
  • Collect or generate enough data
  • Ensure data are unbiased and of good quality

Recommended Quantitative Data Collection books

Recommended Qualitative Data Collection books