Data collection on the relevant information can improve your business workflow. However, you may find the data collection process time-consuming and costly but proper strategies can make it easier.
Data collection is the process of gathering and measuring information on variables of interest, in an established systematic fashion that enables one to answer stated research questions, test hypotheses, and evaluate outcomes.researchgate.net
There are many different ways to collect data and figure out what it means. Surprisingly, most of them are built around a basic set of ways for gathering data. Also included are interviews, document analysis, focus group talks, observation, photography, video, surveys, questionnaires, and case studies.
With the rise of electronic media and the internet, it is now easy to gather information from online sources and use it for further study and decision-making. Today, we’ll show you how to use tools for data gathering that make it easy to gather different kinds of data.
What are data collection tools?
Data collection tools are devices or instruments for gathering data, such as a paper questionnaire or computer-assisted interviewing system.
In addition, here are some of the data collection techniques used by the Data Collection Tools-
- Case Studies
- Usage Data
- Documents and records
- Focus groups
- Oral histories
Moreover, Different Data Collection tools use different techniques as their working principles, and not all the tools are capable of functioning with all these techniques. These tools were developed especially for gathering specific types of information by applying individual data collection methods.
Types of data collection
Now depending on the problem statement, the data collection method is broadly classified into two categories-
- Primary data collection
- Secondary data collection
Primary data collection
Above all, primary data collection is the process of gathering raw data by researchers directly from main sources through surveys, interviews, or experiments. Now, it can be further classified into two categories-
- Quantitative Data Collection Methods
- Qualitative Data Collection Methods
Qualitative data collection methods: Qualitative research methods usually work based on non-quantifiable elements such as the feelings or emotions of the researcher. In addition, it doesn’t require any mathematical calculation to collect any numerical data. For instance, an example of this method is an open-ended questionnaire.
Quantitative data collection methods: Quantitative methods use mathematical calculations to deduce useful data and present it in numbers. For instance, you can fill out the questionnaire with closed-ended questions. It produces figures after mathematical calculation. Also, methods of correlation and regression, mean, mode, and median.
Secondary data collection
Secondary data is the type of data that has already been collected by another person or organization for a different purpose, e.g., reporting or research. You can collect this data from magazines, newspapers, books, blogs, journals, etc.
In the Secondary Data collection process, you have all the data available that someone has analyzed before. Compared to primary data collection, this is much less expensive and easier to collect. It may be either published data or unpublished data.
Secondary data sources for published data include-
- Government publications
- Public Records
- Historical and statistical documents
- Business documents
- Technical and trade journals
Secondary data sources for unpublished data include-
- Unpublished biographies
However, depending on your area of research, opportunity, niche type, and ultimate project goal you can pick any of these data collection methods to make some productive decisions.
Benefits of data collection tools
Once you get your hands on the right tool for online data collection, you will start seeing what you have missed. The reach of these tools is so incredibly extensive, that it’s hard to recognize their potential when you don’t have a system in place.
Below, we are going to take a look at some of the many benefits such data analytics tools offer businesses of all types and at any stage.
Analyzing the performances
As an entrepreneur, it’s important to not only collect data but also analyze and use this data in innovative ways for performance analysis. While the data can be found in many places, the challenge here is gathering reliable data that works towards helping your business grow and develop its quality output.
To do this, data collection tools play a vital role in yielding accurate results, quicker solutions, and business insights that will propel your business further!
Studying the customers
There’s a reason why companies like Facebook and Google collect data to study their customers. It can be helpful when you want to know what your customers are looking for. These two companies aren’t alone in their quest for data.
Any business that wants to grow wants information, which means that there is now a gold rush of sorts happening with everyone trying to get more data than the other guy by way of social media and other avenues.
What the tools out there for collecting and gathering data can do is way more than just give you more customers. They can help you understand and study your customers, who may prove invaluable down the line as you move your business forward.
Seeking problem solutions in business
If any campaign doesn’t go as per your expectations and ends up not working well in the market, even with all of the efforts put into it, you can deploy scraping or data collection tools to help you analyze why this may have happened.
And that’s important so that if there is any particular area where a product can be improved or modified before being re-launched or replicated, your time and money aren’t wasted by repeating something time after time that doesn’t get the desired result.
At this point, analysis of data helps you paint a more clear picture of what happened and what went wrong so that you know where things went awry previously.
What to consider before choosing a data collection tool?
When your business relies on data, selecting the perfect data collection tool or software is crucial. Above all, you need a perfect platform to collect real-time data and run a comprehensive analysis that fuels your decision-making process.
Consider the following attributes before utilizing a data collection tool:
- Variable Type: Consider the type of information you want to collect, your research niche, and the ultimate objectives of the research.
- Study design: Select the approach you’ll follow to collect this information.
- Data collection technique: Decide techniques and tools you prefer to collect data
- Sample data: Decide the place you want to collect data. This actually refers to the population to be sampled. Also, figure out which part of the population will be included in your investigation.
- Sample size: Consider how many subjects you want to include in your study
- Sample design: Also, think about the way you’ll select the sample
The top 7 best data collection tools that make your analysis better
A list of popular data collection tools includes the following-
- GoSpotCheck – best for gathering field data
- Forms on Fire – best for digitizing forms
- Repsly Mobile CRM – best for customer data
- Fulcrum – best for mobile data collection
- SureTriggers – Best for Collecting Data Automatically
- Zonka Feedback – best for customer feedback
- QuickTapSurvey- best offline survey app
1. GoSpotCheck – best for collecting field data
If field data is the driving force of your business, you can use GoSpotCheck to collect and analyze real-time information and make some quick analyses. In addition, it allows insight into all the situations traceable, which helps to understand the current status of the sales force and plan for improvement.
Moreover, this tool is incredibly helpful for your field team and sales representatives to get reports and detailed perceptions in real-time. Also, the platform enables your team to collect data and complete tasks during fieldwork.
A few amazing features of GoSpotCheck are-
- User-friendly mobile data collection app
- Field-first CRM helps you keep up-to-date account information
- Ability to capture photos & analytics to provide better context and increase marketplace visibility
- Advanced reporting using charts, and graphs
- API/Integration ready
- Content distribution to share knowledge with your team
2. Forms on Fire – best for digitizing forms
Firstly, Forms On Fire is a cloud-based data collection tool built to digitize forms. Moreover, this is one of the simplest data processes on the market and helps you streamline your workflow and data collection process. This platform has introduced an easy yet effective way to acquire essential data and analyze it further.
In addition, in order to make data collection simpler, it supports many powerful features like exquisite form design, great analytics, and many more. Also, you’ll get 750+ third-party integrations that can send or receive data efficiently between systems such as Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Zapier, Dropbox, a Custom API, etc.
A few amazing features of Forms on Fire are-
- Both online and offline versions are available
- Easy to capture analytics and generate reports
- Form designs are aesthetically appealing
- Supports drag-and-drop features
- Empowers your everyday work by covering pre-designed routing to rules-driven and user-defined workflows
- Real-time notification
3. Repsly Mobile CRM – best for customer data
Repsly is an all-in-one field management tool that fits small to medium-sized businesses in a range of big industries as well. Therefore, it makes data mining in the field absolutely easy and effortless.
Moreover, this cloud-based CRM application supports almost everything that your teams need to collect and analyze data in fields.
Moreover, admins get a strong grip and detailed insights into their team members’ activities. From the dashboard, they can keep a bird’s eye on everything in one place including sales reps and customers.
A few amazing features of Repsly Mobile CRM are-
- Customer information and history at the fingertips
- Fully-customizable mobile forms
- Device integration, alert notification, and mileage tracking
- Auto transformation of field data into reports
- Comprehensive scheduling and reminders
- Real-time visibility into your brand and your competitors during order management
- One streamlined system to manage everything in the field – from team management to data collection and reporting.
4. Fulcrum – best for mobile data collection
Fulcrum is great for mobile data collection and is even compatible with iOS and Android. Moreover, it has robust features for data collection, even if you need no additional training. Also, it lets you quickly design custom forms and perform field data collection directly from an Android or iOS app. Above all, it easily syncs to the cloud.
In addition, it empowers users to capture sustainable data both in the field and in the office. Though Fulcrum isn’t a free tool, the subscription plans are kind of reasonable.
A few amazing features of Fulcrum are-
- Ability to collect and input data both online and offline
- Real-time access to the data makes decision-making faster
- Automatic location capture feature- your collected data will automatically tag with a GPS location coordinate
- Ability to use base maps from online or offline sources.
- Able to collect signatures and capture barcodes, photos, video, and audio
- Available API to build your own integrations with other apps.
5. SureTriggers – best for collecting data automatically
SureTriggers is a robust automation platform that facilitates seamless data exchange between different software and applications, streamlining workflows and tasks. It’s an exceptional tool for data collection due to its ability to automate data capture processes across various sources and channels.
For instance, in an e-commerce context, SureTriggers can automatically collect customer information, order details, and purchase history from a WooCommerce store and integrate it with a CRM system or simply collect all the data in Google Sheets.
It ensures accurate and up-to-date customer profiles without manual data entry. With its versatile integration capabilities, SureTriggers eliminates human errors, accelerates data accumulation, and creates a comprehensive dataset for businesses to analyze, enhancing decision-making and improving customer experiences.
A few amazing features of SureTriggers:
- Seamlessly connects and integrates data from various sources, such as websites, applications, databases, and APIs, ensuring a comprehensive dataset.
- It captures and updates data instantly as events occur, maintaining the accuracy.
- Eliminates manual data entry by automating the process of gathering and inputting data.
- Connect hundreds of applications with each other seamlessly.
- Design personalized data collection workflows based on specific business needs.
6. Zonka Feedback – best for customer feedback
If you’re looking for a data collection tool to capture your customers’ data, Zonka is the way to go. Firstly, Zonka Feedback is a perfect tool for collecting feedback from customers and employees with stunning CSAT, CES, and NPS surveys and actionable insights. So that you can use them for further improvement and sustainability.
However, the feedback forms are designed to collect customer data effortlessly and analyze it to generate some concrete ideas. Above all, the form is flexible and easily customizable.
A few amazing features of Zonka Feedback are-
- An easy and faster way to set up your surveys
- Easy customizable, and catchy survey form design
- Capture data even offline
- Get real-time reports, email digests & instant alerts for new feedback, and low score
- Available integration with Zapier, Twilio, Plivo, custom APIs & more.
- Supports more than 30+ languages.
7. QuickTapSurvey– best offline survey app
QuickTapSurvey is a popular tool to create beautiful surveys and forms in minutes. It lets you capture data anywhere, even offline. This proactive platform is suitable for lead capture, in-person surveys, customer feedback, research, audits, and interactive kiosks.
A few amazing features of QuickTapSurvey are-
- Capture leads with all the details like address, contact number, email, etc.
- Online or offline data collection using iOS and Android devices
- More than 35 survey question types are available
- Designed for both desktop and mobile data capture
- Automated Alerts and notifications based on the data you collect
- Powerful integration with partners like Zapier, MailChimp, Salesforce, and more.
Importance of data collection
There might be numerous reasons behind data collection. Here is a breakdown to explain the importance of data collection:
- Ensure the integrity of the research question is followed properly
- Minimize the errors from the final output
- Minimize the risk of errors in decision-making
- Make fruitful decisions with accurate data
- Save the researcher’s time and funds
- Create evidence for a new idea, change, innovation, etc.
And using the right data collection tool you can facilitate the process of data collection in a simple yet effective way indeed.
Collect data for all your essential decision-making
Data collection is a systematic approach to gathering relevant information about a specific topic from different sources.
Although there are many powerful data collection tools that can be used to collect and analyze information. Most of them are based on the same core set of methods or techniques. However, depending on the research criteria and user base you can tailor a data collection tool to reach a specific goal.
So, what type of data collection tool you’re using for your business? Share your experience and feedback with us!