Research: Collecting and generating data

  • article | Publicly viewable

All research projects will make use of information of some description – whether this is gathered from existing sources or created as part of the project itself. This section provides information about some common ways of acquiring research data, and some things to keep in mind as you do this.

Running surveys

If you need to gather information from a group of people, you may consider using an online survey. You can include different types of questions and choose whether you want to make the survey open to anyone or just to a selected group of people. People fill out the survey by going to a website, and you will get the answers in electronic form which you can then analyse in whatever way you decide suitable.

Creating audio and video

Some research may require that you create audio or video at some stage in your research process. It may be part of your data gathering (recording bird song or a linguistic feature, capturing a patient's unnatural movement, recording an interview), your dissemination (showing your results as moving images, presenting your research as a podcast) or just something your choose to do.

Data management plans

As early as possible in the research process – ideally before you even start accumulating data – it’s worth spending some time considering what you ultimately want to be able to do with your information, and ensuring that it’s recorded and stored in a way that will make future retrieval and analysis straightforward.