The data collection method is important in the research process as it enables a researcher to collect data that can be analysed using different methodological and analytical approaches. A data collection will only be considered right if it provides the best data to identify trends essential to solving a research problem. Based on the aims achieved, the data collection can be done by primary (first-hand data collection method) and secondary methods (reviewing previously published data in the form of articles, reports, and news).
Both secondary and primary data collection methods have many merits and demerits. The researcher has to select the method with more advantages than disadvantages if applicable to a particular research project. Typically, the researcher collects primary data by conducting surveys, interviews, and experiments, while for the secondary data collection method review of documents/literature in the soft or hard form is the most common method. This article on KT Magazines will discuss a secondary data collection method: document review and its applications in the research process.
Document Review- A brief introduction:
It is simply the process of reviewing a literary piece of information or a manuscript to find whether it is relevant to the area of interest. It is the method of collecting data by reviewing documents; however, it may be an internal and external organisational report or a published article. Thereby, electronic and hard copy documents such as performance ratings, program logs, marketing material, newsletters, and meeting minutes can be the subject of data collection in this method. You have an option to get masters dissertation help when working on data collection for the dissertation.
Document Review as a method of data collection:
It is a reliable method for validating and collecting information in research. As far as academic or organisational research is concerned. The data collection methods are use to collect information to answer research questions or test hypotheses. However, even for personal research, gathering background information related to that point can also be done using document reviewing techniques or methods when you feel curious about some happenings of the world.
When we read articles to increase our knowledge, read literature to find gaps, and select a topic for research, document review is the first freely available method to achieve aims. This data collection method can use if a researcher aims to collect the background information, and explore implementations of a program. The data collection method needs the information to choose a research design for a study or answer questions important to solve a research problem. This method is an important method of data collection, especially when someone wants to search for a solution to a problem by reviewing some examples.
Ways to use document review for data collection
Document review is the secondary data collection process that researchers can use to analyse. The information in a piece of literature is relevant and credible. To review documents for collecting data, the following ways can be adopted:
1. Assess the quality of the content in the document:
A document review must start by selecting the appropriate document for finding answers or evaluating facts for a study. It is not the format of the document but its data or content that is important in document review. The content of a selected document must have the potential to answer questions under evaluation.
2. Secure access to the selected documents:
After selecting the document for data collection, the reviewer should instantly secure it in file folders or drives. Sometimes the loss of a highly relevant document for answering an evaluation cannot be compensate, despite all efforts. Furthermore, for using some types of legal and private body documents, the researcher requires permission from the operating bodies. Otherwise, it may lead to some serious consequences. The researcher should secure the selected document by getting permission from the operating body or saving it into a personal drive.
3. Ensure confidentiality:
While collecting data by document review, data confidentiality is always an important consideration. If you have selected a document containing sensitive data related to an organisation, individual, or system to ensure confidentiality of data must be a researcher’s priority.
4. Judge whether the information is relevant:
After ensuring confidentiality, the next step in document review is to ensure that the data in the selected document is highly specific to your area of research. Here, relevancy means the similarities between the topic of interest and the data used as evidence. To ensure relevancy, the best way is to use a document’s content to answer questions. If the content of a document is sufficient enough to answer the questions, it will be consider relevant otherwise not.
5. Use the information only as evidence for your claim:
A relevant document can best answer a designed question, even though you cannot use the piece of information as it is. A piece of information collected by reviewing a document can be used in two ways. As a direct quote and as a piece of evidence for proving a claim. In either case, proper references and citations are required to use the collected information.
6. Extract conclusion based on collected data:
A document review is a method of collecting data from documents; thus, like other types of research. The data we collect must also be analyse and process to conclude. The last step in document analysis is to choose the right tool or technique for concluding a study after performing the analysis.
In the big picture, document review is an effective data collection method, with few exceptions. For example, a document review is the best choice if a researcher collects data for solving a problem based on historical data. However, the research aiming to predict future trends can least benefit from this method of data collection. The use of this method is quite similar to other secondary methods of data collection, as described. In conclusion, it is the aim of the research that decides whether the document review is effective or not.