Advantages and Disadvantages of Behavioral Data Collection Techniques

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There are many techniques used in collecting behavioral data. However, all the techniques have their own advantages and disadvantages which is why no single technique can be considered the ‘ultimate’ technique. It is important for a person to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of all the techniques to be able to select the right one.

To help you in your quest, given below are a few advantages and disadvantages of some of the most commonly used data collection techniques.

Personal Observation

Advantages:

1.  Gives accurate results because the researcher has direct access to the subject, which allows the researcher to be in direct contact with the person.

2.  There are less chances of the subject lying because of the pressure of the researcher sitting right in front of him or her.

Disadvantages:

1.  This method is very time consuming as it requires the researcher to donate his or her time and be in attendance in person.

2.  The researcher is often biased and more interested in getting the answers he or she seeks instead of the answers that the subject wishes to give.

Questionnaires

Advantages:

-    This method is among the most widely used methods because it does not require heavy inputs. Questionnaires can be prepared and distributed to a large number of audiences in a short span of time.

-    Since the identities are generally kept secret or the questionnaires are anonymous, people feel confident in giving true answers without the fear of their information reaching unsafe hands.

Disadvantages:

-    There is a high risk of ambiguity as if the questions are not properly prepared then different people may perceive them differently and the answers gathered may not be of much value.

-    Quite often than not, people are not interested in answering questionnaires because they find them boring. This is one of the reasons that a great percentage of questionnaires are never filled and sent back.

Interviews

Advantages:

-    The biggest advantage of interviews is the fact that they can be conducted anytime, anywhere. There is great ease in this method as there are many options through which an interview may be conducted including in person, telephonic and online.

-   Due to technology, interviews are quite like face to face conversations now. By using video chatting methods, both the parties get to see each other.

Disadvantages:

-    One of the disadvantages of interviews is that people are often found to lie. They tend to give answers that they find socially acceptable and not what they actually believe in.

-    Interviews often put a lot of pressure on the interviewee as they feel like they are being studied due to which they may get nervous and give incorrect answers.

The right technique depends on several things including the size and nature of your sample and also the topic of your research. The best practice is to select a mixture of all the techniques so that results are reliable.

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