Data collection is the process of gathering, measuring, and analyzing data with the help of data collection tools to find answers to research questions. The insights gathered from the data collection forms evaluate outcomes, forecasts trends, and possibilities.
Accurate data collection is imperative to make business decisions, provide quality assurance, and get the right outcomes. The researcher has to be sure of the data types that will be used, the sources of data, and the data collection methods.
In this article, we will learn about:
Top 12 Data Collection Tools of 2023
The tools that you use for data collection are important as the end result has a lot of bearing on it. You want to collect quality data that can be used for analysis. Let us look at some of the top data gathering tools in the market.
- Kobo Toolbox
- Zonka Feedback
- Forms on Fire
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 chat-like surveys and conversational forms which makes the data collection process highly efficient. Everything from the conceptualization and design of the surveys is within your reach. Create stunning surveys with SurveySparrow’s mobile data collection software.
- 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, 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 via multiple channels such as web links, email surveys, social media, SMS, and more
- Its audience management feature helps segment respondents based on different characteristics
For businesses that are looking for a mobile data collection tool, Fulcrum is one of your best options. You can quickly design custom forms and conduct field data collection on the Android or iOS app. You can use street, satellite, hybrid, and terrain base maps as it is built on Google Maps. It even supports custom map layers from Mapbox, Esri, OpenStreetMap, and others.
- Requires zero training
- Collects data both online and offline
- Syncs to the cloud
- You can collect real-time data
- Collect signatures, audio, photos, barcodes
For businesses that are into collecting sensitive data, Teamscope is a secure and easy-to-use data collection and analysis platform. 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.
- 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
4. Kobo Toolbox
It was developed by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. 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.
- There is a huge community of developers who help with keeping the software bug-free
- You can create and send offline forms
- You can easily visualize, share and download your collected data
It is a mobile data recording app and it allows users to create mobile forms online and offline. The users of this app belong to various niches, especially the health, agriculture, and environmental sectors. 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.
- 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
It is a popular form builder that allows businesses to collect various types of data, including bar codes, voice recordings, geolocations, electronic signatures, and so on. Jotforms functions online too and you can also send push notifications. Its mobile-friendly form builder helps you create and edit forms in seconds.
- 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.
Every process in the data gathering techniques becomes easy for you. It has advanced features that make collecting and sending data a simple affair. As soon as you log in to FastField, you will get access to a tutorial that tells you how you should create your form.
- 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
8. Zonka Feedback
It is one of the most popular data gathering and feedback collection tools. Zonka is also used extensively to analyze customer interviews or surveys. There are NPS, CES, and CSAT surveys that you can perform. Capture the website experience of customers using popups, feedback buttons, embed, and links. With Zonka, you can create engaging surveys within minutes, thanks to its WYSIWYG editor. It has excellent features such as answer piping, conditional branching, survey redirection, themes, languages, and more.
- 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
9. 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 to 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.
- 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
If you are collecting field data, it 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. GoSpotCheck’s built-in content distribution system makes the sharing of information pretty easy. They provide analytics to the business immediately.
- 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
You can create forms to collect data, share them online, and receive instant alerts. There are 30+ field types, customizable themes, situation-specific templates, and a simple user interface. It helps you create beautiful and functional forms for all your needs. Zoho Forms is a highly-reliable front-end software for data collection systems that works with various applications.
- 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
It is a highly reliable data collection platform that allows anyone to create forms or product pages with ease. With Paperform, you can collect more than 20 types of data online, from emails, text, addresses, and images to files, eSignatures, and emails. The question fields automatically format your data too, thereby making it simple to review, export, and analyze it.
- 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
Types of Data Collection
There are two main types of data collection techniques.
- Primary data collection methods:
- 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:
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.
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.
Here, a group of anywhere from six to a dozen are interviewed at the same time. There will be a moderator who discusses the topic and takes the discussion forward. The presence of many relevant people at the same time can foster healthy discussion on the subject. It 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.
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.
Your website and mobile app are excellent tools to collect customer data. 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 did they click on, and so on.
Social media monitoring
Another source of excellent customer data is social media. Find out the other brands that your customers follow, what are the common characteristics they have, 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 did they come from, and so on.
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 that they are exposed to. The final consensus of all experts on demand forecasts constitutes the final demand forecast.
Making direct observations is also a cost-effective way to collect data. You need to establish 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 this. 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
Importance of Data Collection
Collecting data allows 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.
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 a simple affair 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 the best data collection software 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.