Now that you have a sampling framework, you can start to think about collecting your data. Before data collection begins (e.g. interviews, focus group discussions, survey, etc.), you must receive ethical approval from the bioethics committee in your country. In this process, you will have to develop an information sheet and informed consent form that will need to be read to each study participant. Before any data is collected, the participant must give his/her informed consent to the process. This information is outlined in detail in the module entitled Planning and Conducting an IR Project.
While planning your data collection, you will need to identify people who will actually carryout the data collection. A short training will need to be conducted prior to the start of the survey so that the enumerators understand the entire process, the data collection instruments as well as the sampling strategy that you will use. At this time, role plays can be carried out with the enumerators to ensure that they understand the research process and instruments.
Finally consider how you will supervise the data collection process. How will problems in the field be rectified? For example, what if people aren’t home on the days that you start your surveys? What if key informants do not have the time for an in-depth discussion? How will you work with the local head of the health centre if he or she does not agree with using a performance-based instrument?
Regular meetings with the enumerators/field staff can help address some of these issues that may arise in the data collection process. These regular meetings will also provide an opportunity to amend topic guides if using qualitative data collection tools. For example, if you discover new and unexpected phenomena on the first day of FGDs, you will want to add the topic to your next planned FGDs to ascertain how common it is within your respondent population.