Observation ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)


Observation is the process of monitoring a system while it is at work.

Example: An awkward man stands behind a store clerk for one whole day, seeing how she works.

Pros:
- As it is not based on numerical statistics, it can explore topics in great detail and depth.
- Unobstructive observation will create extremely natural data.

Cons:
- A functioning system that is being observed will always act different than it does normally.
- The non-statistical data can be difficult to analyze and can cause generalizations.

Focus Groups

A focus group is a form of research in which a group of people, generally stakeholders, are gathered together and questioned on their opinions towards a project or product. Questions are generally asked in an interactive group setting where the participants are free to talk with other members in the group.


Pros:

  • The researcher can interact with the participants, pose follow-up questions or ask questions that probe more deeply.
  • Results can be easier to understand than complicated statistical data.
  • The researcher can get information from non-verbal responses, such as facial expressions or body language.
  • Information is provided more quickly than if people were interviewed separately.­
Cons:
  • The small sample size means the groups might not be a good representation of the larger population.
  • Group discussions can be difficult to steer and control, so time can be lost to irrelevant topics.
  • Respondents can feel peer pressure to give similar answers to the moderator's questions.
  • The moderator's skill in phrasing questions along with the setting can affect responses and skew results.



Surveys

Pros
  • Relatively easy to administer
  • Can be developed in less time (compared to other data-collection methods)
  • Can be administered remotely via online, mobile devices, mail, email, kiosk, or telephone.
  • Conducted remotely can reduce or prevent geographical dependence
  • Capable of collecting data from a large number of respondents
  • Numerous questions can be asked about a subject, giving extensive flexibility in data analysis
  • With survey software, advanced statistical techniques can be utilized to analyze survey data to determine validity, reliability, and statistical significance, including the ability to analyze multiple variables
  • A broad range of data can be collected (e.g., attitudes, opinions, beliefs, values, behavior, factual).
  • Standardized surveys are relatively free from several types of errors
Cons
  • Respondents may not feel encouraged to provide accurate or honest answers
  • Respondents may not be fully aware of their reasons for any given answer because of lack of memory on the subject, or even boredom.
  • The number of respondents who choose to respond to a survey question may be different from those who chose not to respond, thus creating biased data.
  • Survey question answer options could lead to unclear data because certain answer options may be interpreted differently by respondents. For example, the answer option “somewhat agree” may represent different things to different subjects, and have its own meaning to each individual respondent. ’Yes’ or ‘no’ answer options can also be problematic. Respondents may answer ”no” if the option “only once” is not available.

http://www.snapsurveys.com/blog/advantages-disadvantages-surveys/


Interview


An interview is a face to face meeting, that consists of an interviewer asking the interviewee questions that should be pertinent to the topic of the interview.

Pros

  • You get direct feedback from stakeholders

  • You can ask any question you want, and can change the direction of the interview
  • People tend to be more truthful face to face
  • You can see how people physically react to certain questions
  • You can discuss a topic in depth

Cons

  • It takes a long time to interview everyone
  • It is quite costly as people have to stop working to go to the interview and you have to pay the interviewers.
  • Since it take so long you are likely to choose a small group of people to interview and if you have badly selected this group than some of the information you collect may be useless.
  • For an effective interview interviewers must take a lot of time to prepare


The interviewees privacy be compromised if they are put in a position where they are asked about something that they do not want/need to answer.


__http://www.uwex.edu/ces/tobaccoeval/pdf/ProConInt.pdf__