Data Collection For Dissertations: Why It Is Important and The Methods

The success of your dissertation lives and dies on the data you have collected. Regardless of the type of dissertation or thesis, you are writing, your data is vital, and so is how you collect it. There are two major types of data; Quantitative, which is mainly numerical, and Qualitative, which is mainly written.

Whichever type of data you’re looking to gain, there are two main methods of collecting it; Primary and Secondary. These are explained below:

Primary Data Collection

Primary Data is data gathered for that individual study free example essay site, usually by the researcher themselves. Some of the major examples of this include;

  • Observation – Watching and recording subject behaviour.
  • Interview – Directly interviewing respondents and subjects for information.
  • Questionnaire – Giving a set questionnaire or survey to subjects and recording the results.
  • Focus Groups – Sets of participants who share some experience or characteristic relevant to the dissertation.

Secondary Data Collection

Secondary Data is data gathered from previous research and is considered to be one of the most important points to consider. To break this down further, secondary data is collected from databases or the internet. This can be information taken from former case studies, documentation reviews, organisational projects, research articles or any other body of information that is relevant to your dissertation. Secondary Data can include both published data, such as newspapers, journals and publications, and unpublished data such as inquiry committees, unpublished materials and researcher findings. When it comes to gathering the secondary data, make sure you pay special attention to the available information. As an example, you may find that two sources offer announcement dates, however, one only provides the years whilst the other source details the actual dates. In addition to this, if you are collecting data from other countries, you may be required to translate this information, which can be a struggle. You should test gathering the data before you commit to collecting it for your dissertation.


When writing your dissertation, you need to decide for yourself what the best data collection method is for you. Primary Data is more useful for gathering in-depth, contextual information. This is often Qualitative information that can be used to explain the “why” or “how” of your dissertation. Secondary Data is more useful when studying organisations or scientific studies and is often Quantitative data that explains the “what”, “who,” or “when” of your dissertation.

Of course, like all data, this is not completely set in stone. You may find that Secondary or Primary data is more useful for you in a particular circumstance. You may find Primary Data better for answering a more scientific question, or Secondary Data better for answering a more personal one. Both have their own strengths and weaknesses. As long as you are aware of all the different types of data and collection methods available to you, you should be able to find the perfect one for you.

15 Writers are able to provide high quality dissertation writing services. Data collection for dissertations is considered to be a crucial stage and choosing what the best data collection method is for you is imperative. Why not get in touch with 15 Writers today and find out how we can help you with your data collection needs.


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