Data is a collection of facts, figures, objects, symbols, and events gathered from different sources. Organizations collect data to make better decisions. Without data, it would be difficult for organizations to make appropriate decisions, and so data is collected at various points in time from different audiences.
For instance, before launching a new product, an organization needs to collect data on product demand, customer preferences, competitors, etc. In case data is not collected beforehand, the organization’s newly launched product may lead to failure for many reasons, such as less demand and inability to meet customer needs.
Although data is a valuable asset for every organization, it does not serve any purpose until analyzed or processed to get the desired results.
You can categorize data collection methods into primary methods of data collection and secondary methods of data collection.
Primary Data Collection Methods
Primary data is collected from the first-hand experience and is not used in the past. The data gathered by primary data collection methods are specific to the research’s motive and highly accurate.
Primary data collection methods can be divided into two categories: Quantitative methods and qualitative methods
Quantitative techniques for market research and demand forecasting usually make use of statistical tools. In these techniques, demand is forecast based on historical data. These methods of primary data collection are generally used to make long-term forecasts. Statistical methods are highly reliable as the element of subjectivity is minimum in these methods.
Time Series Analysis
The term time series refers to a sequential order of values of a variable, known as a trend, at equal time intervals. Using patterns, an organization can predict the demand for its products and services for the projected time.
In cases where the time series lacks significant trends, smoothing techniques can be used. They eliminate a random variation from the historical demand. It helps in identifying patterns and demand levels to estimate future demand. The most common methods used in smoothing demand forecasting techniques are the simple moving average method and the weighted moving average method.
Also known as the leading indicators approach, researchers use this method to speculate future trends based on current developments. When the past events are considered to predict future events, they act as leading indicators.
Qualitative methods are especially useful in situations when historical data is not available. Or there is no need of numbers or mathematical calculations. Qualitative research is closely associated with words, sounds, feeling, emotions, colors, and other elements that are non-quantifiable. These techniques are based on experience, judgment, intuition, conjecture, emotion, etc.
Quantitative methods do not provide the motive behind participants’ responses, often don’t reach underrepresented populations, and span long periods to collect the data. Hence, it is best to combine quantitative methods with qualitative methods.
Surveys are used to collect data from the target audience and gather insights into their preferences, opinions, choices, and feedback related to their products and services. Most survey software often a wide range of question types to select.
You can also use a ready-made survey template to save on time and effort. Online survey can be customized as per the business’s brand by changing the theme, logo, etc. They can be distributed through several distribution channels such as email, website, offline app, QR code, social media, etc. Depending on the type and source of your audience, you can select the channel.
Once the data is collected, survey software can generate various reports and run analytics algorithms to discover hidden insights. A survey dashboard can give you the statistics related to response rate, completion rate, filters based on demographics, export and sharing options, etc. You can maximize the effort spent on online data collection by integrating survey builder with third-party apps.
Polls comprise of one single or multiple choice question. When it is required to have a quick pulse of the audience’s sentiments, you can go for polls. Because they are short in length, it is easier to get responses from the people.