Table 8: Quantitative data collection tools
Type of instruments Summary
Observation checklist

The researcher directly observes (watches and listens to) some phenomenon and then systematically records the resulting observations.

Tool: Observation checklist is the instrument used for structured observation. The checklist consists of pre-determined specific categories of behaviours/arrangement/processes/procedures that will be observed.


Survey instruments comprising a series of questions, designed to measure a given item or set of items.

Tool: Questionnaires can be used for structured interviews, offline or online self-administered data collection, and telephone interviews. In a questionnaire, the subjects are required to respond to questions in writing or, more commonly, by marking an answer sheet. In the latter type of questionnaire, response options are often closed lists of responses.

Performance based instruments Performance-based instruments are alternative forms of assessment used to demonstrate a skill or proficiency by having the participant create, produce or do something (e.g. write a paper, create a portfolio, do an athletic performance). Although popular in recent years, the use of the these approaches is fraught with technical difficulties. They are often time- consuming and may require equipment or other resources that are not readily available.
Diary A diary is a self-completed record of experiences during the study period (e.g. alcohol consumption, episode of sickness, or travel).
Electronic data capture Electronic data capture is a method for collecting data entered directly into a computer or other electronic device (i.e. rather than paper forms). The instrument can be in web based, handheld/smartphone or computer format.