Methods of Information Collection


Factors in effective information gathering

Precision (i.e., Reliability)

It is very important to make sure the information gathering methods are precise (i.e., reliable). This means that a method measures the same thing every time you use the method.

There are many things that can affect an instrument's or a method's precision (i.e., reliability). This includes the form of the instrument (e.g. oral or written), the environment in which it is administered, how the staff administers it, the difference in participants from group to group and across time, and the time of the day it is administered (among many others). The researcher can also influence precision (i.e., reliability) by either overtly or inadvertently praising, complimenting or admonishing the participant. The principal investigator is responsible for providing proper training and “spot checks” for how instruments or methods are administered to ensure that the research study is conducted with precision.

Research studies are often criticized because they did not use precise methods to gather data. Precision (i.e., reliability) helps to promote research that is of greater value because you can be more confident that the findings are real.

Case example of precision (i.e., reliability)


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