Data collection is defined as the systematic process of collecting and measuring information on subjects and items of interest. So, what are the problems of data collection in Nigeria? The process is carried out systemically in such a way that one is able to answer stated research questions, subject hypotheses to tests and evaluate outcomes. Data collection aspect of research work is important and exists in all fields of study including the physical, biological and social sciences, humanities, businesses etc. Methods of data collection vary depending on the discipline but the most important this is that information collected is accurate and honest to ensure the generated from it is also accurate.
PROBLEMS OF DATA COLLECTION IN NIGERIA AND SOLUTIONS
Importance Of Data Collection In Nigeria
Every field of study requires some measure of data collection. Data collected can be quantitative or qualitative. Accurate data collection is important to maintaining the integrity of research. The selection of appropriate data collection instruments and clearly outlined instructions for their correct use reduce the chances of occurrence of errors. Not collecting data properly leads to inability to answer research questions accurately, inability to carry out the study again and validate the outcome, distortion in the final research outcome which signifies a waste of resources as the research findings will be discarded, misleads others to pursue fruitless investigations, leads to compromised decisions for public policy making, and can also lead to harm to human participants and subject animals. While the level of impact that may arise from a faulty data collection may differ based on discipline and nature of investigation carried out, there is the tendency to cause harm when the outcome of such faulty data collect is used to support public policy recommendations.
PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH DATA COLLECTION IN NIGERIA
Broadly, problems associated with data collection can be divided into Quality assurance problems and Quality control problems. Quality assurance deals with activities that take place before the actual data collection begins. Quality control deals with activities that occur during the data collection process as well as after the data have been collected.
Among the major problems of data collection in Nigeria is quality assurance. It may arise even before the actual data collection begins. These problems may be due to such things as wrong methodology, logistics, funding, poorly written manuals, timing, vague description of data collection instruments etc. If they are detected early, they can be corrected, if not the outcome of the research will be greatly compromised. To ensure the quality of the data is not compromised, ensure that these problems do not exist.
Before setting out to go and collect field data, the data collector must ensure he/she has researched the subject matter very well to check for previous work done which will help him/her make informed decisions about how best to proceed with the collection process. If the collector proceeds with the wrong methodology in collecting data, such data will most likely not be useful.
Timing is a very important factor to consider. Some data are best collected during the dry season while some are best collected during the rainy season. Collection of data at an inappropriate time could affect the outcome of the research if precautions are not taken.
Another major problems of data collection in Nigeria is the availability of funds for the data collection project is equally important. Without enough funds, the quality of the data collected may be compromised as the collector may choose to bend corners so as to ensure the work is carried out.
Issues bordering on logistics must be properly out before starting to collect data. Proper planning for the entire operation must be ensured so as to effectively collect the data devoid of any preventable challenges or human error of judgment.
Equipment and facilities
The necessary equipment and facilities necessary to ensure smooth collection and processing of the data must be made available. This will ensure the data collected is accurate.
Lack of skilled labor
Not everyone can effectively carry out a data collection project. Anyone charged with the job of collecting data must be qualified and experienced. If he/she lacks experience, a more experienced mentor must be on the ground to guide through in case of challenges.
During the process of actual data collection, there are usually challenges that may threaten to water down the quality of the data collected. Problems such as errors in individual data items, systematic errors, violation of protocol, problems arising due to site performance, fraud or scientific misconduct should be avoided and if they are noticed, they should be corrected immediately.
Fraud or Scientific Misconduct
A data collector may decide to pad his data so as to align with an expected outcome even though the result of his research has proven otherwise. Some may decide to influence data so as to ensure speedy completion of the process. This sort of behavior should not be condoned and if detected, necessary action must be a talent to correct the anomaly and sanction the erring party.
Problems Arising Due To Site Performance
If there are issues noticed on the ground amongst staff that is threatening to affect the overall data collection process, such must be instantly dealt with.
Violation of Protocol
Proper protocol must be followed while collecting data. Ensure the laid down stages are followed to the letter.
If systematic errors are observed in the data collected, such errors must be accounted for and corrected so as to ensure the integrity of the data collected is maintained.
SOLUTIONS TO PROBLEMS OF DATA COLLECTION IN NIGERIA
- Adequate funds must be provided for data collection projects to ensure they are carried out properly.
- Staffs/personnel to be engaged in such projects must be well trained and experienced
- Proper supervision must be available before, during and after the process of data collection to ensure quality is not compromised.
- Verification of the collected data must be carried out. If those collecting data know that their work will be subjected to verification, there would be less temptation to commit fraud.
- Ensure those involved in data collection are properly equipped.
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CONCLUSION ON THE PROBLEMS OF DATA COLLECTION IN NIGERIA AND SOLUTIONS
The collection of data is very important in every aspect of human life. This is so because with reliable data, informed decisions and even predictions and forecasts on important issues can be made. Therefore, all effort must be put into place to ensure that data collection in Nigeria is done in lone with best practices all over the world. This will ensure the quality of available data in the country is ascertained.
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