8 Tips for Data Collection

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Don't bite off more than you can chew when collecting data

Most organizations today know that part of their infrastructure is their data management system. And their operational excellence depends on having great data collection processes. But it is very easy to overdo the effort in the interest of keeping track of details and also providing inaccurate information by short-cutting methods. Here are a few sound guidelines to use when developing or refining your organization's data collection processes:

8 Tips for Data Collection

  1. Only collect data that you know is needed and will be used.
  2. Don’t re-collect data that is already available and kept up-to-date.
  3. Make sure the person providing the data will have accurate information.
  4. Make the survey / test / instrument as easy as possible: keep it as short, minimize effort and time required to complete, schedule it for an appropriate time (example, a time of the year that's less busy), use standard terms and be consistent
  5. Have the survey / test / instrument reviewed by knowledgeable professionals
  6. Provide clear instructions (purpose, how the data will be used, deadlines, etc.)
  7. Do a pretest of the survey on a pilot group and adjust according to feedback.
  8. Understand and communicate what laws and regulations govern the data (examples could be FERPA or HIPAA).

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