What is Data Collection?

Data collection involves the gathering of quantitative and qualitative data through various methods.  Quantitative data is used to find trends and correlations for specified variables, while qualitative data seeks to understand people’s feelings and thoughts, often to supplement quantitative data.

ORB collects data to understand policy and program impacts, societal outlook, and inform strategy and program design for clients operating in international contexts.  By understanding the opinions and problems of target audiences, our clients can design and implement solution-oriented initiatives.

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ORB’s Approach to Data Collection

ORB collects data in over 116 countries, with a focus on complex and fragile environments. We collect this data by leveraging our extensive network of local research partners to obtain the most accurate and contextually relevant data possible; our teams truly understand the populations we study. This is supplemented with rigorously tested quality control systems to ensure only verifiable data is used in our analysis.

Read about the data we’ve collected in Syria, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine.

Data Collection Methods

We employ a variety of tools and methodologies to fit the scope of the project and the needs of our clients.  These include:

  • Public Opinion Surveys: used to gauge attitudes from a general population or a target group regarding a topic or series of topics.

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Variations include:

  • Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI):) an in-person method in which the interviewer uses a tablet, mobile phone, or a computer to record answers.  CAPI is useful for highly sensitive studies and contexts with low levels of technology access.
  • Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing(CATI): a phone-based interview method in which a tablet, mobile phone or a computer is used to record answers.  CATI is useful in less sensitive issues requiring a rapid turn-around.
  • Online: a method in which respondents fill out a pre-scripted survey online. Online surveys are a cost-effective method in contexts with wide-spread access to technology for less sensitive issues.
  • SMS: surveys conducted by text message, or small message service (SMS). SMS surveys are fast, cost effective, and good for administering only a few questions about less sensitive issues.

Focus Group Discussions

  • Focus Group Discussions (FGD): a research method in which a moderator leads a small group of people fitting the targeted demographic traits to offer insight on topics of interest, especially extremely sensitive issues. Focus group discussions can be done online or in person and are used to supplement statistical data.
  • In-depth interviews/ Key informant interviews (KIIs): a one-on-one interview method that aims to collect a large amount of information from an individual knowledgeable on the topic of interest, especially extremely sensitive issues.  These interviews can be conducted online or in person and are used to supplement statistical data.

Quality Control

ORB believes only well-sourced, reliable data can be used to create accurate and informed conclusions.  As data is received, our team runs rigorous quality control testing procedures to ensure all responses are sourced correctly, come from the targeted area, and are not fabricated.  Once the data is cleaned, it can be used for analysis.

To learn more about our quality control philosophy and methodology, watch our video or read our article on the topic.

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