Issues and Challenges in Data Collection

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My mini-thesis study employed both the qualitative and quantitative research methods to explore the effectiveness of online learning environment upon undergraduate student academic achievement at Nazarbayev University. The instruments consisted of the student survey (quantitative data) and interview questions (qualitative data) since using different methods of data collection helped in providing a more in-depth analysis of the effectiveness of online learning.

Frankly, from this small-scale data collection I realized that qualitative part of research, without saying, is pretty hard to obtain probably either due to being more inclined to quantitative data collection and analysis or having less experience in qualitative area.

To begin with, one of the challenges I encountered was choosing participants for my study. Unfortunately, it did not turn out how I planned. Most of the respondents were unwilling to take on responsibility. Then agreeing on appropriate and convenient time for all of us was another issue to deal with. So I came to conclusion that if I precede that way my results could be messed up. Consequently, I recruited my subjects through snowball sampling to be clear through my cousin`s personal contacts who were so nice to forward my requests to their contacts to take part in my mini research.

Second challenge was conducting the interview itself. Throughout the interview, I noticed that sometimes interviewees did get off topic if not properly direct them. Now reflecting back on my interviewing process, I think that participants either misunderstood the questions being asked or did not want to give direct answers. Another problem arose from participants` non-talkativeness. Some tended to give brief answers that were generally uninformative or ramble on about irrelevant themes. Besides, sample population seemed to me to contradict themselves: they may say one point in the interview and afterward say completely another thing, which for sure confused me from time to time.

Nevertheless, I should admit that these interviews were of great help. They assisted me to determine whether there were any flaws, limitations or other shortcomings within the research instrument. Additionally, it let me make essential amendments preceding the usage of the study and minimize the aforementioned risks by employing probing questions and piloting process before conducting real interview.


8 thoughts on “Issues and Challenges in Data Collection

  1. Great post, Guldana. You carefully and clearly present the steps of your study and address some of the important issues that arise when conducting research with interviews. I see no organizational or grammatical mistakes that distract from the message. I hope your thesis interviews go more smoothly now that you know what to watch out for!



  2. Very well written post. I agree with your point that the questions should be very well prepared beforehand, so that interviewees won’t get off topic. It is also difficult sometimes to find participants for qualitative study. I guess mostly they prefer anonymous questionnaires. So, consent forms are needed in this case

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dear Guldana, this is a nice flow of your experience about data collection challenges. This was unique that you mentioned about unwilling attitude of interviewees during the interview. I am also interested in the point, about people’s rejection to answer questions during the interview. My questions to you: how can you as a researcher raise interest of your participants or motivate them to take active part in your interview?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Akzharkyn,

      Thank you for your comment. Regarding your question I think we can encourage our participants and hold their interest for the whole interview process by giving incentives (though I`ve never offered them), make our questions whether its survey or interview questions easy to understand and lastly telling what they could benefit by taking part in such things and that they could be the change they want to see in the world))


  4. Dear Guldana,

    I really like the way you are writing! It is informative, well-organized and just nicely to read. Well done! I appeciate that you have chosen mixed design. You are the only person, I guess, who has decided to provide both qulitative and quantitative studies. Besides, I would like to emphasize the RQ as it is the real example of a good research question.

    Good luck, Guldana!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Samal,
      Thank you a lot for your comment. At first I wanted only to focus on quantitative study but after discussion with my instructor I changed my mind. Also I hope this mini thesis write up will help in my future big research since there I`m going to apply mixed research design.
      Wish you also good luck with your research!


  5. Dear Guldana

    I liked the way you have written about the challenges met in data collection process. I think semi-structured interviews might be more helpful in directing your interviewees to give the apprporiate answer for you questions, since there tou can use probing questions.

    Liked by 1 person

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