4 Easy Ways to Collect Primary Research During Lockdown
Collecting primary research can be a time consuming task, but it gets even more complicated whilst we’re in a UK lockdown and you have limited resources. So, if you can’t go out and conduct your research the way you usually would, rest assured we have found some ways to still make it possible. Let’s get started!
What is primary research?
It’s important to know exactly what you’re looking for before you begin researching. There are two types of research, primary and secondary. Primary research is research you’ve collected yourself. This means that the information you receive is original to you. This differs from secondary research which is data collected by somebody else. It can be a little trickier when using primary research as it’s a lot more time and effort on your part. However, it can also be a lot more specific to the topic you’re studying which can come in handy if you’re researching something unique! For more information read about the advantages and disadvantages of primary research.
Qualitative or quantitative?
Within primary research, there are also two kinds of data. These are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative data means data that uses numbers. It consists of information that can be measured in numerical data sets. This differs from qualitative data which is usually descriptive and often found from interviews, questionnaires or observations. This kind of data is usually used to capture the meaning behind something. It’s important to know which kind of data you are wanting to find as this could determine the questions you ask and the methods you carry out.
So, what do you do? Here are some primary research methods you can try from home.
Surveys are the most common way to conduct primary research and they’re just as easy to do online. When creating a survey think about the issue at hand and the questions you want to ask. There are plenty of popular survey websites you can use such as SurveyMonkey and Google Forms. Once you’ve created your survey you then want to think about how you’d like to distribute it. You might want to target a certain demographic with this survey so it’s important to know where to look. Using social media such as Facebook or Twitter is a good way to get it out there and you can even ask people in your group chats to fill it out. It’s worth having a look for Facebook groups too as you might find one that has the ideal audience. The more places you post the survey, the more participants you’re likely to get.
So, we’re sure you’ll have heard of Zoom over lockdown – the main place to get any face-to-face interaction online! You can conduct interviews here and get just as much meaning from them as you would in person. You will want to write a set of questions and decide whether to use a closed-ended or open-ended approach. If you want direct informational answers with a simple yes or no ending you can ask closed-ended questions like, “Are you comfortable working remotely?”. If you’re looking for more in-depth opinion-based answers, you can use open-ended questions such as, “What do you think are the main strengths and weaknesses of working remotely?”. Just think, now there’s no need to travel, you could conduct interviews with people all over the world – endless possibilities!
These will have a similar structure to online interviews. The only difference, of course, is that it’s less one-on-one as a group of people will be involved. The only constraint is that you’ll have to find a time that suits everyone, but that’s no different to what you’d have to do in person. Once you’ve got people to participate, you can conduct the focus groups over a group call and lead as you would normally, offering everyone to get involved and answer the question. This is a great way to observe what people say to each other as they discuss your topic. As there could be a lot of information to record, we’d suggest recording the call to look back on, just remember to ask for your participants’ permission.
It’s easy to find a case study these days. There’s usually lots available online around a number of topics, and first-hand articles can be used too. All you need to do is analyse them! You can do this by explaining how your chosen case study helps to prove your hypothesis, does it highlight any key issues? Can you apply a theory to it? It’s a fairly accessible method as long as you’ve got internet access and you can even use your universities library too! They’re likely to have a lot of options to choose from.
Hopefully, these methods will help you to successfully conduct your primary research from the comfort of your own home! We know this year has been more difficult than most so we hope this makes things a little bit easier. Remember, if you’re still struggling and need some extra help you should check out our primary research services and see what we can offer! Good luck!