How do we collect data for research?
There are many different ways. We can observe firsthand, we can video capture, and observe that. We can take pictures, we can code those photos. We can send out surveys. Have our samples fill out paper ones. All of the methods we use to collect data are thought out with the utmost care to keep our data as reliable as possible and as verifiable by others as possible.
What interests me though are the methods.
As a litte side project, I’m working on a different method of data collection using the iOS platform, but its not done yet, so I can’t really talk about it. Ok fine, I’m developing an app that will allow any observer to code the phenomenon they’re observing on their phones, then export that data to Excel or SPSS.
Aside from this project, iOS in itself could be a powerful research tool. The sheer number of people who have access to this platform would be a gold mine for researchers, I think. I’m not talking about sending spam out to millions of users, to have them fill out a form. But by using its built in tools, the possibilities for collecting data over multiple sites, and multiple cultures is now a real possibility. Video observations could be made in a classroom in Sydney, Australia and Sydney, Novia Scotia, and easily shared between researchers. Human movement could be tracked using an iPhone’s gyroscope and accelerometers. The possibilites are endless, and as educators, its up to us to think of these new methods for data collection and leave the old pencil and paper behind.
Now, it sounds like I’m falling prey to the old technology for technology’s sake, that I have some sort of fetish towards iOS and would use any excuse to tout its power in whatever way I can. I realize that it wouldn’t work in certain situations and it may be a downright bad idea and not worth anyone’s time to use it in most. I’m just saying its a versatile planform and has a lot of potential as a research tool.
Pencil and Paper have worked for longer, so I actually trust them more than my iPad.