Techniques and Tools (Theme)


This module provides a description of the main techniques and tools used by National Statistical Institute (NSIs) to collect data. Characteristics and peculiarities of each of them will be described together with organisational aspects to build data collection instruments and to set up, run and finalise data collection, in accordance with the sub-processes 3.1, 4.2, 4.3 and 4.4 indicated by the GSBPM model for “Phase 4. Collect”.

The choice of the most suitable technique or the way they can be combined is described in the module “Data Collection – Design of Data Collection Part 1: Choosing the Appropriate Data Collection Method”, where the reader can also find in section 2.2 a possible classification of all available modes (Table 1).

In this module only the main and most used techniques and software tools to collect data for business surveys are described, dividing them into two main groups: interviewer-administered and self-administered modes. More specifically, the module is organised as follows:

Section 2.1 is about interviewer-administered techniques, CATI (Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing) and CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing). Here the advantages and disadvantages of the presence of interviewers and of the use of an electronic questionnaire will be described. The section will also make hint to the Direct Observation mode.

Section 2.2 is about self-administered modes: Mail and Web surveys. The potentialities of the electronic questionnaires typical of web surveys will be highlighted as well as the importance of good questionnaire layout for mail surveys. The section will also talk about software tools for entering the information collected through the paper questionnaires used in mail surveys.

Section 2.3 talks about the structured electronic exchange of information based on EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) and the last section 2.4 is about administrative data, as their use is going to change the way NSIs organise their data collection process.

A note for readers: in the rest of this topic the term “respondent(s)” is used. With this term it is intended to represent all the “actors” involved in providing the information to be collected according to the surveys' needs. Respondents can be defined as “Respondents are businesses, authorities, individual persons, etc., from whom data and associated information are collected for use in compiling statistics.” (OECD Glossary of Statistical Terms). This definition, therefore, includes all the expressions like “reporting units”, “observation units”, “data provider”, etc. whose definition can be found in the glossary, thus simplifying the reading.


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