How does the study of data collection methods differ from methodology?


What is study of data collection?

Studying data collection basically means studying the process of sampling. Sampling means selecting a certain subset from the total population to analyse because the whole population is difficult to study. Sampling can be either probability or non-probability. In the probability, there is a non-zero probability of every individual of the population of being selected while in the non-probability sampling people are selected in a non-random manner.

Sampling- The different ways

There are numerous ways to study data collection or the sampling methods.

  • Random sampling- this is a very pure process of sampling because in this process every individual has a known and equal chance of getting selected. This is very helpful in case of a huge population.
  • Systematic sampling- this can be used in place of Random sampling. It is also known as the Nth name selection process. When a sample size is selected every Nth record is selected from it. This method is as good as Random sampling and as effective. The best thing about this method is that it is very simple and easy to try. It can be used for choosing select number of files from computer.
  • Stratified sampling- it is a very effective method as it reduces the sampling error to a large extent and hence can be chosen over Random sampling method. In this process all the relevant stratums in a population are selected. Then via Random, sampling subjects from those stratums are selected. Stratum is a group of people in a population, which share at least one common characteristic.
  • Convenience sampling- mainly used in exploratory research. In this case a sample is selected because it is convenient. The whole process is inexpensive and can be used for preliminary research efforts.
  • Judgment sampling- this is a very common non-probability method. The academic writer selects the sample on the basis of his judgement. But the academic essay writer must make sure the sample is chosen wisely and is truly representative of the whole population.
  • Quota sampling- it is similar to Stratified sampling but belongs to non-probability method. The stratums are selected but the subjects are chosen on the basis of Convenience sampling or Judgement sampling unlike Stratified sampling where the subjects are chosen on the basis of Random sampling.
  • Snowball sampling- this is a very special non-probability method and used only when the desired sample character is not common.

These are the sampling methods, which can be studied during a research work. But choosing which sampling method is suitable for your research can be a daunting task since it can do much to spoil your research work.

What is methodology?

Methodology usually refers to which sampling should you choose. As it has already been referred to earlier, any research work is open to a number of sampling methods.

  • Probability methods: one of the best sampling methods.

o   Simple random sampling- the whole population is available.

o   Stratified sampling- Random sampling done within selected stratum.

o   Systematic sampling- when a number of people representative of the population are available.

o   Cluster sampling- in a situation where the population groups are usually separated.

  • Quota methods: you get to choose the number of people you will be sampling.

o   Quota sampling- though you get to choose from the whole population but you can only take as many as you require.

o   Proportionate quota sampling- you choose according to the population distribution amongst different groups. Very effective when you are dealing with minority.

o   Non-proportionate quota sampling- you only choose the minimum amount of people from every group.

  • Selective methods: it is helpful when it comes to selective or target groups.

o   Purposive sampling- studying a group of people on the basis of intent.

o   Expert sampling- helpful when you need experts.

o   Snowball sampling- very useful when you want similar subjects.

o   Modal instance sampling- focuses on ‘typical’ people and hence useful when you are dealing with them. Since the normal methods tend to overlook them.

o   Diversity sampling- it works when you want to go for the differences.

  • Convenience methods: simple, effective yet not so time consuming.

o   Snowball sampling- you need similar subjects.

o   Convenience sampling- choosing the subject according to convenience.

o   Judgment sampling- you get to judge and choose the sample population.

  • Ethnographic methods: usually good for field-based observations:

o   Selective sampling- choose what you think is right but focus must be given to some particular groups or locations or even subjects; whatever your research work demands.

o   Theoretical sampling- you use this sampling method to test any theory, which you want to include in your research work.

o   Convenience sampling- choosing subjects according to convenience.

o   Judgment sampling- you get to be the judge of what is best for your research work and then select the sample population accordingly.

Choosing the right method

Choosing the method of sampling which will be perfect for your research can be difficult since each method of sampling serves a particular purpose. The best sampling method is the one, which will help you meet the goals of your research work.

  • The goals: if you do not know the goals of your research work then you cannot choose the most effective sampling methods. So list the goals and choose accordingly. Usually every research work has to basic goals- maximum precision and minimum budget. If your research work has any other goals then list them.
  • Sampling methods: go through all the sampling methods. This way you will get acquainted with all the sampling methods which will enable you to judge the different methods. Make a list of all the cost effective methods and another list of those sampling methods that are effective and precise. You can make another list according to your requirements.
  • Test: after you are done making the list of probable sampling methods, test their ability to serve your purpose. This is important because in this step, you will get to know which method is effective and to what extent.
  • The final step is to choose the best method.