Techniques of Information Collection in Qualitative Investigations

The data collection techniques are an aspect of the research methodology, explained in some works within chapter III, called the Methodological Framework. But before getting into their types it is necessary to be clear about what we refer to when we talk about methodology, the paradigm or qualitative approach and the techniques themselves.

In principle, the methodological framework refers to the planning and establishment of the way in which the research will be carried out. This specifies the type of research, its depth levels, approaches, methods, population or universe of study, the techniques and instruments to collect the information and the same that we will use to analyze it or explain the findings.

In summary, the methodology answers how we will do it. With respect to the paradigm or approach, this is related to the general principles that will guide or determine the study procedures. In this case we decided on the qualitative approach or paradigm to talk about their data collection techniques. But what is this paradigm about?

Hern├índez (1998) defines it as the “set of operations, strategies and tactics that the researcher performs before and with the phenomenon being studied in relation to the operations that the researcher gives him”. In the same way, Austin (2004) mentions that “the qualitative paradigm appeared presenting the world as a structure in movement, changing and full of dynamism, where people are conceived as active agents in the construction of the realities that are presented”.

This means that the qualitative paradigm refers to phenomena and realities that can be explored or known through their characterizations, focusing on understanding the subject, its interpretations, inferences and everything that it deduces or concludes from its realities, from the same behaviors of their peers, of the actions they undertake in their life dynamics and the links with their environment.

How a researcher gets involved in this process and captures all those impressions, by means of techniques. What is a data collection technique? For Arias (2006) “are the different ways or ways of obtaining information”. Through these, all the data that these subjects issue or produce are collected. These techniques are characterized by being broad, flexible, spaced from rigidity, open to modifications or changes.

The main ones are:

The participant observation:

It consists of looking and seeing under a guided and intentional structure, getting involved in the environment that is scrutinized in order to specify the daily life of the subjects studied and understand it. It is required to contact the key people of the community, with this clarify the doubts of the observed phenomena and take notes in an orderly manner.

The in-depth interview or open interview:

This is the name given to the planned dialogues between the researcher and his interviewee, understood as the subject of study. They are given continuously for the purpose of knowing the appreciations or points of view that this individual conceives about certain topics of his life and his environment.

Discussion groups:

As its name indicates it is the integration of several people to interact and exchange ideas on a topic that is of common interest for them. During the meetings, a specific point is dealt with in order to solve it. The activity is planned, planned and followed by certain regulations.