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Data Collection Techniques and Statistical Sampling Procedur

Explain in details the Data Collection Techniques and Statistical Sampling Procedures

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Data-collection techniques allow us to systematically collect information about our objects of study (people, objects, phenomena) and about the settings in which they occur. In the collection of data we have to be systematic. If data are collected haphazardly, it will be difficult to answer our research questions in a conclusive way.

Various data collection techniques can be used such as:
* Using available information
* Observing
* Interviewing (face-to-face)
* Administering written questionnaires
* Focus group discussions
* Projective techniques, mapping, scaling

Using available information
Usually there is a large amount of data that has already been collected by others, although it may not necessarily have been analysed or published. Locating these sources and retrieving the information is a good starting point. For example, analysis of the information routinely collected by health facilities can be very useful for identifying problems in certain interventions or in flows of drug supply, or for identifying increases in the incidence of certain diseases.

In order to retrieve the data from available sources, the researcher will have to design an instrument such as a checklist or compilation sheet. For health information system (HIS) data, for example, the data compilation sheet should be designed in such a way that the items of data can be transferred in the order in which the items appear in the source document. This will save time and reduce error.

The advantage of using existing data is that collection is inexpensive. However, it is sometimes difficult to gain access to the records or reports required, and the data may not always be complete and precise enough, or too disorganised.

This is a technique that involves systematically selecting, watching and recording behaviour and characteristics of living beings, objects or phenomena. Observation of human behaviour is a much-used data collection technique. It can be undertaken in different ways:
* Participant observation: The observer takes part in the situation he or she observes. For example, a doctor hospitalised with a broken hip, who now observes hospital procedures 'from within'.
* Non-participant observation: The observer watches the situation, openly or concealed, but does not participate.

Observations can be open (e.g., 'shadowing' a health worker with his/her permission during routine activities) or concealed (e.g., 'mystery clients' trying to obtain antibiotics without medical prescription). They may serve different purposes. Observations can give ...

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