Method in Data Collection – ONLINE

Method in Data Collection – ONLINE

  • Method in Data Collection
    16/12/2020 - 18/12/2020
    10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Course details

statistics course | level: beginner | register now
for questions related to this event, contact
affiliation: Vrije Universiteit Brussel


This 3-day FLAMES course provides general guidelines for the operationalization of abstract concepts through
the construction of indicators and the design of data collection instruments (e.g., questionnaires). Measurement
is the attaching of numbers to objects in a meaningful way (Stevens, 1951). Empirical science is invariably based
on measurements. These measurements can have a highly structured form (think of CERN's grid computing to
detect the Higgs boson or God particle in 2012), and they can have a highly unstructured form (think of talk-asyou go qualitative interviews). In both cases, the instruments produce the data that serves as evidence in
descriptive, inductive and deductive studies. Any measure of any attribute depends on a number of conditions of
measurement, which include (Tobi, 2015): the observer, the instrument (which sometimes coincides with the
observer), the time of measurement, and a (great) number of ceteris paribus (all-things equal) conditions. The
quality of measurement is a decisive factor in the validity of any research project. Research results can only be
trusted in so far as the measurements on which it relies can be trusted. Whatever level of sophistication your
analyses of data reach, the conclusions can never be stronger than your measurements allow (the GIGO
principle: garbage in, garbage out). When designing your research, a considerable amount of effort must
therefore be invested in the construction of your instruments.
This course offers an overview of the basic aspects of metrology as a science, including a general theory of
measurements, a theory of measurement error, and the development of methods and means of measurement,
with an emphasis of those tools applied to gather data about people. At the end of this course, participants are
able to:
- Know about basic aspects of measurement (validity, reliability, precision, discriminating power, measurement
- Understand the design and limitations of commonly used data collections methods (secondary data; primary
data including observation, interviewing, and content analysis)
- Deal with problems that might occur in the data collection phase (non-response, reflexivity)
- Anticipate on problems that might occur in the data analysis phase (analysis design, power considerations,
missing data, confounders, extraneous variables).


Knowledge of general research methodology is recommended.

Background readings

H. Tobi, Measurement in interdisciplinary research: The contributions of widely-defined measurement and
portfolio representations, Measurement 48 (2014) 228-231.


PhDs and postdocs of a Flemish University: € 0 Other academics: € 180 Non-profit/Public sector: € 300 Private sector: € 600




Prof. Jarl Kampen