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Data Collection Tools: Our Top Picks for 2024

Kate Williams

26 May 2024

14 min read

Data collection is the process of gathering, measuring, and analyzing data using data collection tools to answer research questions. Consequently, the insights from the data collection forms can help us evaluate outcomes, predict trends, and understand possibilities.

For any organization, getting data right is crucial. It’s the foundation for making informed business decisions and ensuring quality outcomes. To do this effectively, researchers need to carefully consider what types of data they’ll use, where it will come from (sources), and how they’ll collect it (aka data collection methods). Just like a detective needs the right clues to solve a case, researchers need reliable data to draw accurate conclusions.

In this article, we will learn about:

  1. What are Data Collection Tools?
  2. What to Look for in a Data Collection Tool?
  3. Top 12 Data Collection Tools of 2024
  4. Different Types of Data Collection
  5. Importance of Data Collection

What are Data Collection Tools?

Data collection tools are instruments or platforms used to gather information from various sources. Think of them as helpers that make capturing data efficient and organized.

These tools can be simple, like paper questionnaires, or complex, like sophisticated software suites. They help you collect data through surveys, interviews, observations, document analysis, and even experiments!

Choosing the right tool depends on what kind of data you need (opinions, behaviors, records) and your specific needs (budget, technical skills). But no matter the tool, they all essentially do the same thing: make data collection easier and more effective.

What to Look for in a Data Collection Tool?

  1. Type of Data: Determine whether you need to collect qualitative data (like opinions or comments) or quantitative data (such as numerical information). Some tools are better suited for one type over the other.
  2. Data Collection Methods: Consider the method that best suits your project, whether they are surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, experiments, or questionnaires. Each method has its own strengths and is suitable for different types of data collection.
  3. Ease of Use: The tool should be user-friendly, both for you and your respondents. A complex tool might discourage participation or lead to errors in data entry.
  4. Customization and Flexibility: Look for tools that allow you to tailor surveys and forms to your specific needs. Customization can improve response rates and the quality of data collected.
  5. Integration Capabilities: If you use other systems or software, choose a data collection tool that integrates seamlessly with them. This can streamline your workflow and make data management more efficient.
  6. Cost-Effectiveness: Consider the cost of the tool against the features and benefits it offers. While some tools might be free, they may lack advanced features available in paid tools.
  7. Security and Compliance: Ensure that the tool complies with data security regulations and maintains the confidentiality of your data.
  8. Data Analysis Features: Some tools offer built-in analytics and reporting features, which can be incredibly useful for interpreting the data you collect.
  9. Technical Support and Training: Good customer support can be invaluable, especially if you encounter issues or have questions about using the tool.
  10. Scalability: The tool should be able to grow with your needs. If you anticipate larger or more complex data collection needs in the future, choose a tool that can accommodate this growth.

Top 12 Data Collection Tools of 2024

Choosing the right tools for data collection is crucial because the quality of the data directly impacts the analysis and outcomes. It’s like using the right tools for a job – they need to be reliable and effective.

With that in mind, let’s look at the top data-gathering tools in the market. 

At a Glance

Data Collection ToolPrimary Focus
SurveySparrowOmnichannel data collection
FulcrumField data collection in areas with limited connectivity
TeamscopeResearch of a sensitive nature
Kobo ToolboxNon-profit organizations and humanitarian projects
MagpiMobile data collection at the enterprise level
JotformEase of use and flexibility
FastFieldConstruction, manufacturing, and logistics
Zonka FeedbackCustomer data collection
Forms on FireMobile data collection with real-time insights
GoSpotCheckRetail and field teams
ZohoData collection, CRM, and analytics
PaperformFor beginner-friendly surveys

1. SurveySparrow – For omnichannel data collection

best data collection tool

One of the best mobile data collection apps in the market, SurveySparrow comes with a host of advantages, such as ease of collection, high data quality, flexibility, and more. It offers wide range of features such as chat surveys, conversational forms, NPS surveys, and more, which makes the data collection process highly efficient. From survey creation and design to sharing and analysis, everything’s within your reach. Moreover, SurveySparrow is also a solid mobile data collection software, and has an offline survey app as well.

Notable Features

  • Analyze the data collected at the granular level with its rich reporting system
  • Ask a variety of question types, starting from simple MCQs, star rating, and opinion rating to complex matrix-type
  • It offers a seamless 3rd-party integration using webhooks and Zapier integration to help you connect with apps every day
  • Share the data collection survey online as a weblink, email, social media or SMS – or offline as a QR code, paper form or on your survey device.
  • Its audience management feature helps segment respondents based on different characteristics
  • Visualize the data with dashboards and sort the data using custom filters.

Pricing Plans

SurveySparrow’s paid plans starts at $19 per month. Additionally, they offer specialized plans targeting customer experience (CX) and reputation management.  For custom requirements, get in touch.

Enter your email below to try out SurveySparrow.

2. Fulcrum – For field data collection in areas with limited connectivity

Data collection tool
Source: Fulcrum

For businesses that are looking for a mobile data collection tool, Fulcrum is one of your best options. It can collect data offline and sync it seamlessly when connected to the internet, making it ideal for field data collection. Moreover, you can quickly design custom forms and collect field data on the Android or iOS app. In addition, you can use street, satellite, hybrid, and terrain base maps as they are built on Google Maps. It even supports custom map layers from Mapbox, Esri, OpenStreetMap, and others. 

Notable Features

  • Requires zero training
  • Collects data both online and offline
  • Syncs to the cloud
  • You can collect real-time data
  • Collect signatures, audio, photos, barcodes

Pricing Plans

They offer a free trial. Get in touch with the team for more details.

3. Teamscope – For research of a sensitive nature

Data collection tools
Source: Teamscope

Teamscope is a secure and easy-to-use data collection and analysis platform for businesses that are into collecting sensitive data. Teamscope provides the ability for researchers to collect qualitative and quantitative data offline, helps visualize it, and even creates powerful mobile forms. The data in the app is stored in an encrypted manner. 

Notable Features

  • It has a case management feature that makes it possible to create cases for individual subjects
  • Provides data visualization options
  • It is cross-platform compatible
  • You can take mobile surveys 

Pricing Plans

They offer a free trial. Get in touch with the team for more details.

4. Kobo Toolbox – For non-profit organizations and humanitarian projects

data collection tools
Source: KoboToolbox

Kobo Toolbox was developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative, which is why its biggest users happen to be nonprofits. The free and open-source tool is generally used for mobile data gathering. The data entry can be done through the web browser or from Kobo Toolbox’s KoboCollect, an Android application. The software can be installed on any server. 

Notable Features

  • There is a huge community of developers who help keep the software bug-free
  • You can create and send offline forms
  • You can easily visualize, share, and download your collected data

Pricing Plans

Kobo Toolbox has 4 different plans:

  • Starter at $21.00 per month.
  • Community at $88.00 per month.
  • Professional (Nonprofit) at $129.00 per month.
  • Professional at $166.00 per month.

5. Magpi – For mobile data collection at the enterprise level 

Source: Magpi

Magpi is a mobile data recording app that allows users to create online and offline mobile forms. The users of this app belong to various niches, especially the health, agriculture, and environmental sectors. In addition, Magpi allows businesses to conduct rapid and low-cost surveys. The software allows you to do mobile surveys, get automatic updates, perform GPS stamping, and even gather photos. There are fully integrated workflows that let you add the customers’ data into any web-accessible system. 

Notable Features

  • It reduces accidental errors with the help of logical branching
  • Eliminates the use of paper
  • It allows for offline data entry
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) data collection
  • Allows for Zapier Integration

Pricing Plans

  • Enterprise Plan: $1,000 per month, includes API and Zapier connectivity.
  • Pro Plan: $500 per month, offers more features than Basic.
  • Basic Plan: $250 per month, includes 15 data collectors.

6. Jotform – For ease of use and flexibility

Jotform best data collection tool
Source: Jotform

Jotform is a popular form builder that allows businesses to collect various types of data, including bar codes, voice recordings, geolocations, electronic signatures, etc. Jotforms function online, too, and you can also send push notifications. Its mobile-friendly form builder helps you create and edit forms in seconds. 

Notable Features

  • Its Kiosk Mode feature converts your tablet into a survey station
  • Allows for collaboration between team members
  • Get access to data in real-time
  • Offline data gathering is possible
  • It has advanced form features where you can add special mobile form fields for geolocation, voice recording, QR scanning, signature collection, and more. 

Pricing Plans

Jotform offers several pricing plans as of 2024:

  1. Free Plan: $0.00 per month
  2. Bronze Plan: $29.00 per month
  3. Silver Plan: $39.00 per month
  4. Gold Plan: $99.00 per month
  5. Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing

7. FastField – For construction, manufacturing, and logistics

Data collection tool
Source: FastField

Every process in the data gathering techniques becomes easy for you with Fastfield. It has advanced features that make collecting and sending data a simple affair. As soon as you log in to FastField, you can access a tutorial that tells you how to create your form. 

Notable Features

  • Zapier integration is possible
  • You can also get an API key provided by FastField
  • The platform supports multiple mobile form apps
  • Its user interface is highly intuitive, thereby making the data collection process highly efficient
  • Create your own workflow based on how you want to route forms, reports, and data
  • Collect data from remote collections, too as it allows for offline data gathering

Pricing Plans

  • Monthly Subscription: $25 per user/month.
  • Annual Subscription: Discounted rates available, details through an Account Executive.

They also offer add-ons like Anonymous Forms and White Label Branding, with specific rates for additional services.

For detailed pricing, visit FastField’s pricing page.

8. Zonka Feedback – For customer data collection

Source: Zonka Feedback

This is one of the most popular data-gathering and feedback-collection tools. With Zonka, you can create engaging surveys within minutes, thanks to its WYSIWYG editor. Zonka is also used extensively to analyze customer interviews or surveys – you can perform NPS, CES, and CSAT surveys too. Moreover, you can capture the customers’ website experience using popups, feedback buttons, embeds, and links. It has excellent features such as answer piping, conditional branching, survey redirection, themes, languages, etc. 

Notable Features

  • It has many pre-made templates
  • Provides customizable customer satisfaction surveys and evaluation forms
  • You get access to the data in real-time
  • There are over 20 question types available 
  • Send the data collection questions in multiple languages

Pricing Plans

Zonka Feedback offers the following pricing plans as of 2024:

  1. Starter: $49 per month (billed annually) or $79 per month.
  2. Professional: $99 per month (billed annually) or $149 per month.
  3. Growth: $199 per month (billed annually) or $299 per month.

For more detailed information, visit Zonka Feedback’s pricing page.

9. Forms on Fire –  For mobile data collection with real-time insights

Forms on Fire
Source: Forms on Fire

One of the easiest and most effective ways to collect data is through the Forms on Fire software. It is a cloud-powered digital tool that helps you streamline the process of your data collection tools in research. The drag-and-drop functionality makes it easy to collect data. Forms on Fire has more than 750 advanced integrations possible, thereby making it easy for different systems to share data efficiently. 

Notable Features

  • Has activity dashboards and access controls
  • Sends alerts and notifications
  • Audit trail and audit management
  • The form designs available are visually appealing
  • It offers real-time notifications
  • The users can define the workflow
  • The software captures analytics and generates reports efficiently

Pricing Plans

  • Standard: $20/user/month (annually) or $25/user/month (monthly).
  • Premium: $28/user/month (annually) or $35/user/month (monthly).
  • Enterprise: $36/user/month (annually) or $45/user/month (monthly).

10. GoSpotCheck – For retail and field teams

Source: GoSpotCheck

If you are collecting field data, this is one of the best tools out there. By collecting data in real time, you can help users complete tasks. The mobile app makes it easy to collect data in an efficient manner. Also, GoSpotCheck’s built-in content distribution system makes the sharing of information pretty easy. Moreover, they provide real-time analytics for the business. 

Notable Features

  • Role-based access ensures that data is not shared with unauthorized users
  • You can integrate data from third-party systems so that your data is organized and secured across databases
  • It automatically populates charts and graphs to give you immediate access to the analytics report
  • Field-first CRM ensures that you get updated account information

Pricing Plans

  • Essentials Plan: Starts at $35 per user per month.
  • Pro Plan: Starts at $55 per user per month.
  • Enterprise Plan: Custom pricing is available upon request.

11. Zoho – For data collection, CRM, and analytics

Best Data collection tool
Source: Zoho

Zoho Forms is a highly-reliable front-end software for data collection systems that works with various applications. It helps you create beautiful and functional forms for all your needs. You can create forms to collect data, share them online, and receive instant alerts. Moreover, there are 30+ field types, customizable themes, situation-specific templates, and a simple user interface. 

Notable Features

  • You can embed forms on web pages
  • The form links can be shared on social media 
  • Trigger conditional emails or SMS notifications from your online form whenever a record is submitted
  • Measure the form’s performance using UTM tracking and form analytics
  • Create forms both online and offline and collaborate with your team

Pricing Plans

  1. Basic Plan: Starts at $25 per user per month.
  2. Supports: 2 users.
  3. Includes: 500,000 rows & unlimited workspaces.
  4. Higher Tier Plans: Available for up to 50 users, 50 million rows.
  5. Maximum Price: Up to $495 per month for larger plans.

12. Paperform – For beginner-friendly surveys

Paperform : best data collection tool
Source: Paperform

With Paperform, you can collect more than 20 types of data online, from emails, text, addresses, and images to files, eSignatures, and emails. It is a highly reliable data collection platform that allows anyone to create forms or product pages with ease.  The question fields automatically format your data too, thereby making it simple to review, export, and analyze it. 

Notable Features

  • You can export your data anytime in PDF, CSV, or Word doc formats.
  • Zapier integration allows you to share information with different systems
  • It has powerful built-in analytics to help improve conversions and collect more data
  • Data collected in Paperform is stored in the cloud and is protected by SSL
  • It has more than 500+ templates for data collection

Pricing Plans

  1. Essentials: $20/month (annually) or $24/month (monthly).
  2. Pro: $40/month (annually) or $49/month (monthly).
  3. Business: $165/month (annually) or $199/month (monthly).
  4. Agency: $135/month (annually) or $159/month (monthly).

Types of Data Collection

There are two main types of data collection techniques.

  1. Primary data collection methods
  2. Secondary data collection methods

Primary data collection methods

It is the type of data that is collected by researchers directly from main sources with the help of interviews, surveys, focus groups, etc. Primary data is usually collected from the source and is regarded as the best kind of data in research 

Let us look at the different primary data collection methods: 

Interviews

In this type of data collection, the researcher will ask questions to a specific set of people, either directly or by means of phone or email. It is one of the most common forms of data gathering. 

Surveys

It is a great option to ask questions directly to customers. There was a time when you had to hand in paper questionnaires, wait for the respondents to complete the survey, and collect and analyze each of them manually. Thankfully, there are online survey tools such as SurveySparrow that make the entire process simple.

With online survey tools, you can create surveys within a few minutes, get responses in real-time, and even analyze the answers with the help of the reporting dashboard. The survey can be shared via emails, social media, or web forms. 

Focus Groups

Here, a group of anywhere from six to a dozen are interviewed at the same time. A moderator will discuss the topic and take the discussion forward. The presence of many relevant people at the same time can foster healthy discussion on the subject.

Moreover, a focus group helps the moderator and the researchers unearth information that they might not have thought of earlier. The researchers also get a balanced perspective as they get ideas from different people. 

Polls

When you want to have a quick pulse of the audience, you can choose polls.

Polls can either be single or multiple-choice questions. Since they are usually short and don’t take up time, you can easily get a lot of responses. Just like surveys, you can also embed polls into various platforms.

After you gather the responses, you can share the results with the respondents to see where they stand when compared with others. 

Suggested Reading: 11 Best Online Poll Apps

Online tracking

Your website and mobile app are excellent tools to collect customer data.

In fact , there are more than 40 data points that you can collect from your website visitors. This data will tell you how long they were on the site, the pages that they visited, which parts of the website they clicked on, and so on. 

Social media monitoring

Another source of excellent customer data is social media.

Find out the other brands your customers follow, their common characteristics, the kind of interactions they have on forums, and so on. You can find out what their interests and motivations are based on their engagement on the platform.

Most social media platforms have an in-built analytics engine that gives detailed and organized insights from multiple sources. 

Online marketing analytics

There is a lot of valuable data that can be collected through your marketing campaigns. The marketing tool that you use will give you data about who clicked on the ad, the device they used, at what time they clicked, where they came from, and so on. 

Delphi technique

Here, market experts are provided with the estimates and assumptions of forecasts made by experts in the niche. These experts may revise their estimates and assumptions based on the information they are exposed to.

The final consensus of all experts on demand forecasts constitutes the final demand forecast.

Observation

Making direct observations is also a cost-effective way to collect data. It would be best if you established the right mechanism for making the observation. When you are doing simple observation, non-responsive subjects are not an issue. If the observation doesn’t require any type of interpretation, then the model doesn’t require an extensive training regimen for the observer. 

Secondary data collection methods

Unlike primary data collection, there are no specific methods for secondary data. The researcher gathers information from various data sources, including the following:

  • Sales reports
  • Financial statements
  • Business journals
  • Government records
  • Business magazines
  • Distributor feedback
  • Customer personal information

Suggested Reading: Desk Research 101: Definition, Methods, and Examples

Importance of Data Collection

Data collection tools allow you to store and analyze information about various things that could help make changes to your business. There are a number of reasons for researchers to collect data; let us look at some of them.

  • Reduces the possibility of errors: Using appropriate data collection methods reduces the chances of errors.
  • Research integrity: One of the reasons for collecting data, no matter whether one uses qualitative or quantitative methods, is to ensure the integrity of the research.
  • Saves cost: Through data collection, the researcher will be able to spend time getting the right insights. If not, they might work on the project for months or years only to find that it was not feasible at all.
  • Decision making: By collecting accurate data, the researcher is better informed of what they should do as their decision is driven by data. 
  • Supports change: Doing data collection repeatedly ensures that you will be in the know when it comes to changes that might be necessary or if there is an introduction of new information based on the data that has been collected. 

Conclusion

Data collection apps are integral to secure and reliable research. Make sure that you choose a feature-rich data collection software that gives you accurate reports and a comprehensive review so that you can refine the data to gather information. Make your data collection process simple by choosing the best data collection software. 

Do remember that the purpose of collecting data is to work on it. For that to happen, you need to convert the data gathered into insights. Work on the improvements and make your offering better, irrespective of the nature of the data collected. Thank the audience for responding to your data collection survey.

If you are looking for data collection software, why choose a random one? Go for one of the best data collection tools in the market- SurveySparrow. Its appealing UI, share options, audience management feature, advanced reporting system, and many more features make it the most compelling tool. Get on a call with us to understand how we can help with your data collection strategy. 

Kate Williams

Content Marketer at SurveySparrow

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