Introduction

This chapter reviews the main methods of data collection for primary research. Interview methods are the most widely used, and there are several ways in which interviews can be conducted. These methods involve personal, face-to-face contact between the interviewer and the respondent, and can therefore be both expensive and time-consuming. The nonpersonal contact research methods attempt to overcome these problems, but in doing so, other problems arise. The major non-personal contact methods are postal research, diary panels, telephone research and observation research. Data is now often gathered using electronic media including laptop or palmtop computers. The Internet is becoming a major data collection method. There is still some uncertainty about the reliability of the Internet as a data collection method.

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