There are several logistical considerations for data collection as part of a research study. Write down answers to all of these questions; they will be used to create any ethics board paperwork and will be discussed as part of your study’s manuscript.

When will you collect your data?

Create a timeline for data collection using your study design and any other resources that are appropriate. For example, if you’re running a study for two weeks in your class, identify the study timeframe when creating your syllabus and schedule.

Put reminders about any time sensitive tasks into your task list and calendar!

And remember, if ethics board approval is required at your institution, ensure that you have approval before proceeding with any research activities!

Where will you collect your data?

Identify where you will collect your data. Will it be in your classroom, your learning management system, an interview location, online? Have processes in place to start and stop any automated data collection.

How will you collect your data?

Identify the medium of data collection. Will you have students fill out paper surveys or use an online survey system? Will you be recording a think-aloud session or doing screen capture? Will you use some type of automated data collection via an automated grading system? Will you be downloading log data from a message board or office hours system?

Who will collect your data?

Identify who will collect what data and when. Take care with identifying what access you have to certain types of data (e.g., grades) as instructor and as researcher. Will you collect all the data as instructor? Will you collect informed consent during the semester of instruction or, if you’re the instructor, will you have a colleague collect informed consent during the semester of instruction? Who will administer surveys or other research items?

How will you collect demographic data?

Identify how you will collect demographic data. Will you ask students to self-report on their demographic data? Will you request that data from your institution’s internal records group?

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