Collection Of Data



Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on targeted variables in an established systematic fashion, which then enables one to answer relevant questions and evaluate outcomes. Data collection is a component of research in all fields of study including physical and social sciences, humanities, and business. While methods vary by discipline, the emphasis on ensuring accurate and honest collection remains the same. The goal for all data collection is to capture quality evidence that allows analysis to lead to the formulation of convincing and credible answers to the questions that have been posed.

Data can be collected using three main types of surveys: 

  • Censuses
  • Sample surveys
  • Administrative data.

Each has advantages and disadvantages. As students, you may be required to collect data at some time. The method you choose will depend on a number of factors.


A census refers to data collection about every unit in a group or population. If you collected data about the weight of everyone in your team, that would be regarded as a team census. 

Sample survey:

In a sample survey, only part of the total population is approached for data. If you collected data about the weight of 5 students in a class of 15, that would be a sample survey of the team rather than a census. 

Administrative data:

Administrative data are collected as a result of an organization's day-to-day operations. Examples include data on births, deaths, marriages, divorces and car registrations. For example, prior to being issued a marriage license, a couple must provide the registrar with information about their age, sex, birthplace, address and previous marital status. These administrative files can be used later as a substitute for a sample survey or a census.