Step 3

Data Collection Method

Now you have chosen a design you now need to decide how you are going to collect your data, Ie. what data collection method you want to use? You can choose between a LABORATORY-BASED, FIELD-BASED OR SURVEY-BASED data collection method.

Laboratory-Based Data Collection

Laboratory based data collection does not mean the physical venue you collect the data in needs to be a white scientific laboratory. A laboratory-based data collection means collecting your data in a controlled environment. An environment that does not have any external factors (like weather, temperature, crowds etc) influencing your results. For example, a research that tests whether an energy drink improves aerobic running performance: if one set of participants performed the testing on a running track with a strong wind, another group performed the testing on a slippery track, and another on a sunny day, you may get inaccurate results! Instead you could perform the testing on a treadmill in a room where you can control the temperature, wind etc controlling the environment and as a result receive more reliable and valid results.

 

The down side to testing in a controlled environment is that the test may become unrealistic. For example, a test determining whether energy drinks have an effect on football performance would not be realistic to football if you were in an air-conditioned room running on a treadmill. Sometimes the testing needs to be taken place in an environment that mimics the sport, which is probably an environment you cannot control!

 

A research that tests whether an energy drink improves aerobic running performance, upper body strength or lower body flexibility may not need to be in a realistic environment. Therefore, the best option is to control as much as you possible can. Therefore, a laboratory-based data collection method is wisest.

Field-Based Data Collection

Field based data collection does not mean standing in an actual field and collecting data. It means that you collect the data you need in a realistic environment to the topic you are covering. The testing is undertaken in an environment that mimics the real environment as much as possible. For example, a test determining whether energy drinks have an effect on football performance would be realistic if the results were taken on a football pitch, with footballs and other players. The testing would not be realistic to football if the testing was done in a gym on a treadmill wearing running trainers!

 

Most of the time it is too difficult to be 100% realist to the sport or conditions you are focussing on, but a field-based research will try to make the data collection (testing) as realist as possible. For example, it may be too difficult to see if an energy drink did effect running performance in football in an actual game of football, but it may be more realist to complete testing on a grass football pitch, whilst wearing football kit and having to change direction at certain times.

Survey-Based Data Collection

Survey-based data collection comprises of asking participant to answer a set number of questions that require short answer responses. For example, for a study that wishes to see how much exercise 16-18-year-old do could create a questionnaire that asks a question like: how many minutes of exercise do you do per week?

 

The survey-based data collection could phrase questions that require participants to answer with a rating, for example select an answer between 1-5 (1 being you do not agree and 5 being you do agree, or 1 being I really dislike and 5 I really like). This is called a likert scale. This can allow for opinions to be collected but still allowing the data to be numbers.

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