Chapter Overviews

Chapter Five, Methods of Data Collection, builds on the framework for data collection in Chapter Four and delves into a concrete exploration of the primary modes of qualitative data collection. The chapter highlights the key characteristics and values of qualitative interviews and discusses the primary considerations for developing and conducting qualitative interviews. The chapter then describes the method of observation and fieldnotes and discusses roles of the observer and the writing of observational fieldnotes. We then describe focus groups including their benefits and challenges and offer suggestions for how to approach and conduct them. Next, we describe the roles and uses of documents and archival data as a part of an overall approach to data collection. The chapter includes a discussion of a survey approach and using questionnaires. We also include a brief overview of selected participatory methods of data collection. Throughout the chapter, we provide recommended practices for each method and include ideas for memos related to these methods of data collection. We end the chapter by revisiting research design to ensure that your data collection methods align with your research questions.