Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Creating a set of data collection questions

Data collection questions are largely created from the reading we have done for our literature review. From all the good quality research papers we have read, we should be starting to form a picture of how we too can answer our research question, using good quality research examples to help us to construct our questions, our strategy to ask our questions, and how we might analyse the data from the questions we ask.

The process that I like to use is:

·      Download the template “03 Data Questions Framework v3.docx”, available here:

·       Go through the research sources found in the literature review, and explore the methodology, to see what questions they asked which provided the same type of results you are seeking

·       List all the questions that you may have to ask in the first column of the Data Questions Framework table then:

o    detail what type of answer you want to get to this question in column 2

o    add a citation for where this question has been used in previous research in column 3

o    consider how you will analyse the data you get from this question in column 4

o    map all the possible questions to its relevant research aim in column 5

o    indicate that you have checked for sense, clarity, have proofed the question, and have checked that the instructions are clear in column 6

·       Try to answer each of the elements above are detailed as fully as possible

·       Keep adding questions to the framework until you will have potentially gathered enough data to answer your research question

·       Refine the wording of each question, to make them all as clear and unambiguous as possible

·       Reorganise the questions in what would be the most logical order to ask them

·       Save this framework. Then create another copy, which you will edit further than the next step

·       Before sending to your supervisor for review, check that:

o     each question asked is a single question: i.e. one ’question’ does not contain three questions, for example: “What are your views on the work conditions for your current jobs? (e.g. working hours and pay) Are they different from your expectations? If so how?”. This should be split into three questions  

o     you do not have more than 15 questions overall for a one hour interview; you do not have more than 20 questions overall for survey

o     you are not unintentionally asking the same things in different ways (we may intentionally ask the same thing in different ways to cross-check for validity)

o     personal questions, such as demographics, are asked at the end of the data collection instrument.

This process seems to work well for students.


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