Tools for Data Collection in Psychology

After the sample completion, the researcher must devise data-gathering procedures. Several data-gathering methods and technologies are available, and we employ these methodologies and instruments in theoretical and empirical research. It is vital to remember that the methodologies and instruments used will differ depending on the nature of the research. In certain investigations, we may need to employ more than one technique or instrument to gather data. This lesson will teach you about data-gathering methods and techniques, as well as social research and study design methodologies. These are critical elements for any social worker interested in doing meaningful research.

What are the Tools for Data Collection?

Tools are basic approaches or ways of obtaining information from respondents. No empirical study can be conducted unless the instruments are used. Each tool is utilized in a certain scenario and has a specific relevance. To enhance the data, more than one tool may be used. Many processes have been created to design various sorts of instruments in order to acquire relevant data. The researcher must select the appropriate instrument based on the desired data type. Some tools aid in collecting qualitative data, while others aid in collecting quantitative data.

Primary and Secondary Data

The main data are those obtained for the first time and hence have a unique nature, and such information is made public by authorities in charge of collecting it. Secondary data, on the other hand, is information already acquired and processed by another entity, and secondary data is information previously acquired by another organization to meet its needs. However, it is now being utilized by the department under reference for a completely different purpose.

Sources of Data

People and paper are the two basic sources of data in social research. The answers to questions posed to individuals are the primary data sources in social research. This source is referred to as the major source of data. A wealth of information is already available in the form of 'paper' sources. Examples include documents, historical records, diaries, biographies, statistical records, and so on. Paper sources are sometimes known as secondary or 'available data sources.


Observation is a fundamental approach to gathering information about our surroundings. We are virtually always engaged in observation as long as we are awake. For example, when we wake up in the morning, we observe whether it is a bright or rainy day and decide whether or not to bring an umbrella. Not only is observation a part of our daily lives, but it also provides numerous forms of data that are needed as evidence to support social research.

The most significant advantage of the observational approach is the ability to document the actual occurrence of social events. While many research methodologies rely heavily on, if not on, recalling past experiences, the observational method generates data that is relevant to real-life circumstances. With this approach, a professional researcher may even see and document a society's little characteristics that may appear inconsequential to others.


An interview is a face-to-face conversation between two people in which one person asks another person questions in order to obtain information. By the turn of the century, the interview had developed as a data-gathering instrument and had become a fundamental aspect of social research. Previously, interviews were done as a probing dialogue, and this strategy was employed as a potent instrument for gathering information when guided by a diligent observer. However, as time passed, the interview instrument became more sophisticated in terms of scientific standards and dependability.

Rating Scale

A rating scale is a tool for determining the degree to which an individual possesses specific behavioral characteristics and features that are not easily apparent by objective examinations. A rating scale comprises a collection of traits or qualities to be rated and some kind of scale to indicate the degree to which each attribute is present. The scale comprises descriptions of varying degrees of quality grouped along a line from high to low.

Characteristics and Criteria for Selection of a Good Tool

It includes−

  • Validity − A good research instrument must measure what it claims to measure. A test is legitimate if it achieves the goal for which it was created. Validity is fundamental; we consider it high, moderate, or low validity. Furthermore, validity is context-dependent; a test may be valid for one reason but not another. A proper data-gathering tool is required.

  • Reliability − A measuring tool's second most significant characteristic is its dependability or consistency. A dependable test measures precisely and consistently. If a trustworthy test is administered to the same group twice or three times, each group member should receive about the same score on each occasion. The idea of reliability is statistical. A test's reliability must be determined by administering it to a group of people under controlled conditions. A correlation coefficient can be used to express reliability.

  • Objectivity − The test is considered objective when the examiner's judgment does not influence the scoring. An objective test is one in which the items may be easily assessed as correct or incorrect. Multiple choice, matching, and true-false items are all objective. Objectivity is required for test reliability, and objective judgments are correct and so trustworthy. As a result, the data-collecting instrument must be objective.

  • Adequacy − A conscientious test creator never thinks that the instrument he has built can measure all the factual information or abilities a student has gained in a school course. Adequacy is required for a test's reliability as well as validity. As a result, the data-collecting tool must be sufficient.


Selecting instruments to be utilized in data collection is a critical decision. The nature of the research topic, the type of research methodology, the type of respondents, and their geographical distribution, are in broad terms. The professional competency of the investigators available for data collection, the time frame for completion of the study, and the funding available all influence the method used for data gathering.

Updated on: 13-Apr-2023


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