Consistent Data Collection and Recording

An important aspect of data quality is to ensure data are collected consistently across different sites and different data collectors. The best way to achieve this is through vigorous staff training and the use of processes to ensure consistency.

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Examples of processes that can be used include:

  • Ensuring staff and team members involved in the data collection and recording are centrally and consistently trained in the correct processes
  • Having checks in place to ensure all data recording equipment is working and has adequate backup power supplies
  • Having checklists for tasks involved in data collection 
  • Keeping strong and consistent records about data collection methods which should:
    • Record what people, events and situations were involved
    • Record methods and processes that interviewers followed
    • Record any discrepancies or problems that interviewers encountered, such as missing data or unexpected changes that needed to be made
    • Record any other information
  • ​Record keeping can be kept consistent between data collectors and locations by having forms available with specific questions about the data collection to be filled out
  • Give data collectors clear, written instructions about data collection protocols. For example,
    • Interviewers conducting structured interviews or questionnaires should:
      • Be given clear, written instructions and question scripts which include things such as:
        • What should and shouldn’t be read out loud 
        • What order to read questions in
        • What words to emphasize
      • Read scripts and questions as written
      • Read every question, even if they feel the participant has already answered the question in a previous answer
    • Interviewers conducting unstructured or semi-structured interviews should:
      • Have a checklist of topics that should be covered
      • Have a list of example questions to address these questions, including likely follow-up questions
      • Be made aware of how much detail is necessary to obtain in these interviews for the purposes of the study
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Updated: 11th August 2015 - 11:07am
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BetterEvaluation Website and Engagement Coordinator, BetterEvaluation and ANZSOG.
Melbourne, Australia.

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