Online Data Collection using Research Panel

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What is a Research Panel?

A research panel is a group of pre-recruited individuals who have confirmed their participation in market research, such as surveys, that help in data collection. In order to be able to participate in research panel, the members of the panel usually share a comprehensive amount of demographic data, household data, and behavioral data, which is required for in-depth market research studies.

What is Data Collection?

Data collection is a process of collecting and measuring information based on variable requirements. Data collection is a systematic assembly of data to study various outcomes in market research.

Regardless of the field of study or the kind of data (qualitative or quantitative) collected, accuracy and correctness of the collected data are extremely important to maintain the integrity of the survey.

The data collection method and the panel established for it should complement each other for good quality data to be obtained. The quality of panel directly affects the data collected. Better the quality of the panel, better is the accuracy of data collection.

However, the definition of data collection has evolved in the last few years, with the internet being the savior for many businesses, the process of data collection has also changed. Today, online data collection has made the process extremely efficient and systematic. Let us understand online data collection first.

What is Online Data Collection?

The internet has created opportunities for online data collection, that are more robust, require less time and is efficient. The internet is used as a method to research and collect information through emails, texts sent on phones and similar methods.

The online data collected through by sending emails, texts etc (usually interviews conducted online) is known as online data collection. The advantage of online data collection is that the survey respondents or panel members are given ample time to respond to the questionnaire or the survey. So the data that is received is usually more accurate.

Online data collection is a systematic process and involves clear distinction in the way the data is collected. The panel that is set up for data collection should be responsive and should possess knowledge about the field in which the research is conducted. Therefore there are certain steps that need to be followed to receive accurate data.

Here are the steps that you need to follow for accurate online data collection using research panel:

  1. Select the right data source: The data source here are your panel members, who are a group of individuals who will be responding to the questionnaire or surveys sent by you. Make sure your research panel is well versed in the field in which the questions are asked. Selecting the right panel is the key to accurate data.
  2. Establish a sufficient revert time: It is true that online data collection is faster than other conventional methods, but it is also equally important to give sufficient time to your research panel to revert to the questionnaire or the survey. A timeline added to the questionnaire helps respondents understand the urgency of the survey.
  3. Customize your survey or questionnaire: While sending out the questionnaire or the survey to your research panel, as a survey creator, you should customize the survey. Remember not to keep the survey too long. Avoid asking confusing questions. Make sure that the questions can be well read on hand-held devices.
  4. Be careful when requesting sensitive data: Online data collection makes the respondents feel less uncomfortable when they have to give an opinion on politics, religion, sex and other related topics. Since there is no face to face interview, there are chances that your respondents will provide accurate information. But you need to make sure that this sensitive information is used in the right manner. For this, a disclaimer should be provided before collecting the data.
  5. Displaying data online: Once all the data is collected, you need to be careful what percentage or what kind of data can be displayed in public. Your respondents need to be anonymous and their privacy should be of the primary importance. Therefore as the data collector, you have to determine to draw that line.

To sum up, online data collection has become a more favorable process in recent times. Advantages like, it’s less time to consume, more accurate and authentic make it a more reliable choice. Remember, a good research panel always helps to yield a good data.