Sociology Research Paper on Methods of Data Collection

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Telephone Surveys

Telephone surveys are a common tool among researchers. This type of surveys provides limited amounts of data due to specifics of telephone conversations. Usually, sets of questions are shortened, so that respondents could give a few quick answers. Identities of respondents are often unknown.

Mail (Postal) Surveys

In this case, a researcher and a respondent cannot interact directly, so some preparation makes this method more effective. Respondents may receive quick guidelines and prepare their answers on a particular topic. Sometimes such surveys include questions sorted by difficulty, from the easiest ones to the most complicated.

E-Mail Surveys

Now it’s the most popular method, and it includes questions sent via e-mail, as well as links to the online forms. This type of surveys takes less time and allows researchers to collect more data from more respondents. Many online surveys use applications like Google Forms.


Methods of Collecting Secondary Data

Secondary data is data obtained from other sources, such as researches, internet, reports, publications, and so on.


This type of sources includes printed media (magazines, newspapers, journals, etc.). Secondary data is usually used as a reference material. Many researchers pay more attention to secondary data, since it helps take a wider look at an issue, considering conclusions made by other experts. Some publications may provide a researcher with information on additional sources, which is another useful feature of publications.

ERP and Data Warehouses

ERP gathers information on accounts, finance, production, marketing, and other characteristics of an organization. ERP data is saved on hard drives and can be accessed by authorized persons or organizations. If a researcher wants to get data on how an organization develops in a certain sector, he or she can use ERP data, which can be considered primary data.

Data warehouses are storages that keep huge amounts of data, and they are another type of secondary data. This data cannot be analyzed manually, so it requires specific software. Along with data warehouses, researchers often use SPSS, SYSSTAT, and SAS software. Data is obtained automatically, but a user selects certain options.


The web is likely the most common way of getting secondary data. This method is fast, easy, and it doesn’t require any specific programs. Users are able to search for information on any topics using such search systems as Google, Yahoo!, Bing, etc. Many types of printed sources (reports, journals, etc.) are also available online. Along with this, many users refer to Wikipedia, which is a very popular, free encyclopedia that can be edited by everyone.


In this report, we have considered types of primary and secondary data and provided an overview of methods of data collection. Used data determines the success of any research paper, so usually, researchers combine various types of primary and secondary data. The first type of data makes a research unique and so increases its value. Secondary data help provide a detailed, holistic and logical analysis, taking into account existing theories and views of well-known experts.

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