Integrating Technology into Data Collection

Integrating Technology into Data Collection

While using paper and pencil surveys is the tried and true method of collecting data, technology is rapidly becoming a popular and oftentimes more efficient way to collect data, especially quantitative data like the kind you might collect with a traditional survey.  This section provides an overview of the benefits and challenges of using technology to collect data.


Types of technology that can be used to collect data traditionally captured with surveys include:


  • Online or web-based surveys
  • Hand-held devices such as clickers and PDAs
  • Text messages
  • Social networking sites such as Twitter, MySpace, and Facebook

The pages that follow mostly focus on using technology to collect quantitative data from participants. However, you could use a social networking site to engage participants in a virtual focus group or conduct observations of interactions on that site.


Online/Web-based Survey

Online and web-based surveys enable users to design a survey that can then be administered via an internet link. Some online tools include Survey Monkey, Zoomerang, and QuestionPro.




  • Simpler and quicker way of collecting both quantitative and qualitative data
  • Easy to access a large group of respondents in  geographically diverse locations
  • More cost effective than manually administering surveys
  • Data can typically be exported, eliminating manual data entry
  • Improves accuracy of data entry (e.g., reduces omissions, duplicate entries)
  • Limited to respondents who have access to the internet
  • Some may find on-line interface off-putting
  • Does not guarantee the quality (reliability and validity) of actual survey design
  • Potential lack of security


For a PDF of resources specific to Online/Web-based Surveys, follow this link: Online/Web-based Surveys


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