Data Collection Tools (And Web Scraping!) Explained

Saheed Opeyemi
March 1, 2021
Community

data collection tools

More data is always a better place to start when fueling your decisions. While the amount of data you need varies based on your motives for collecting the data, analytics are only as good as the data collected. More data simply tells you, well, more. Therefore, for efficiency, you need to have a data collection solution that you can easily deploy whenever you need data. With the amount of information streams available on the internet today, identifying and extracting the datasets relevant to your needs is challenging but also worthwhile. There are innovative alternatives that can help you simplify the process of collecting data and allow you to maximize resources.

Of all data collection tools available, web scraping makes it easy to collect data to generate insights to improve your business or find fundamental solutions to long-unsolved problems. For ease of navigation, you can learn everything you need about how to optimize your data-driven analytics with the following:

Table of Contents

 

What Are Data Collection Tools?

Data collection tools Before going deeper into the methods of collecting data, you need to understand the major categories of data itself. There are two major categories of data: Primary Data and Secondary Data.

Primary Data is the type that you gather by yourself. It means you are actively involved in the sourcing of information. You get to provide a research question and conduct experiments by yourself. Your experiment can provide you with results that can either be Qualitative data or Quantitative Data.

  • Qualitative Data: This type of data is not quantifiable and is not presented in numbers. It is data that can inform the quality of your product or company or service with qualitative and explainable attributes. This kind of data is incredibly useful, and also difficult to collect and observe efficiently (which is why web scraping is essential.)
  • Quantitative data: As the title suggests, it deals with quantity. This type of data involves actual figures to emphasize the amount of whatever data is involved. Basic examples of quantitative data could be the number of people who visit a mall on Sundays, the number of people migrating into a geographical area per year, or the number of workers in an office.

Secondary data is all around us. It is easily accessible on the internet and requires fewer resources to gather, unlike Primary Data. In this case, the collection of primary data has been done by someone else before getting uploaded to the internet. Secondary Data comes in the form of search results that provide insight into brand mentions, price analysis, reviewing, and sentiment.

So how do you get your hands on whichever category of data is relevant to your current needs? Here’s where data collection tools come in. Choose methods and solutions developed to help collect data in an orderly manner and can be easily analyzed, understood, and integrated into processes, business, or otherwise. There are several utilities for gathering info, and depending on what you need, some are more suited to collecting a particular type of data than others. Let’s take a look at a list of good processes that you can adopt to simplify your data collection process.

Examples of Data Collection Tools

Examples of data collection tools

Data collection tools in research

  • Interviews: When carrying out research, it is often a necessity to reach out to experts on the subject matter you are researching. Interviews help you gather data directly from the mouth of people who have been in the trenches and have a first-hand idea of how things work in your niche. Web scraping can comb the internet for existing interviews that contain real, human data produced in a conversational way.
  • Surveys: To successfully conduct research, you need the opinions and feelings of people regarding your subject matter. A survey uses a set of standardized questions surrounding a specific topic to collect data from people about their opinions, attitudes, or behavior towards that topic.
  • Case studies: A case study is an in-depth exploration of a process, structure, or strategy at a particular institution. It usually answers the “how,” “why,” and “what” of a process, structure or strategy employed by an institution to achieve a particular goal. Case studies are a very good method of collecting data from research as the information usually comes directly from the people who made the process, structure or strategy work.

Online data collection tools

Most of the methods of data collection listed above can also be used to collect data from the online world, especially if you are looking to collect qualitative data from internet users. Other online tools include:

  • Information management systems: Though typically designed to manage your database, these management systems can also help you collect data, especially in-house data generated by your organization.
  • Data collection software: Other data collection software exists that makes it easy for you to gather data from the internet and from internet users. For example, Google Forms allows you to create forms. This can be used to create job application forms, allowing to easily collect applicant data.

Social media data collection tools

Social media is one part of the internet where you constantly have to keep up with what people are saying if you want to compete effectively in whatever niche you operate. However, most of the data you need on social media falls under qualitative data, so social media data collection is complicated but incredibly valuable. You can carry out surveys, interview people, and send out questionnaires to collect data from people on social media, and brand engagement can generate a ton of usable and actionable customer data.

Web Scraping and Online Data Collection Tools

What are data collection tools Despite the versatility of some of the processes we mentioned above, they don’t offer you much. And most of them are far too time-consuming and effort-intensive to be effective. Especially when large volumes of data are needed from the internet. About 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced daily on the internet. How many surveys will you have to carry out to extract useful information from that much data? Yeah, exactly. So where do you find a tool that can easily handle collecting large volumes of data from the internet without you having to sit with it all day, every day? You find it in web scraping.

Web scraping is a process of using automated bots to crawl through the internet and extract data. The bots collect information by first breaking down the targeted site to its most basic form, HTML text, then scan through to gather data according to some preset parameters. After that, the collected data is delivered in CSV or Excel format, so it is readable for whoever wants to use it. Web scrapers are among the most efficient methos you can employ.

How would you like to be able to carry out several surveys at once without having to talk to a single person? You can do it with web scraping. Do you want to collect data in large volumes? Use web scraping. Web scraping is the single most effective data collection solution currently available on the internet. With the right web scraping solution, you can set your scraping parameters to specifically target only a single category of data. You can target multiple categories of data. You can easily collect both qualitative and quantitative data, all in a format that can be integrated easily into your research, academic needs or business processes.

Importance of Online Data Collection Tools

Online data collection tools Once you get your hands on the right tool for online data collection, you will start seeing what you have missed and how indispensable these tools are. They offer numerous benefits to businesses of all types. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  • Performance analysis The collection of data through a reliable tool solves a lot of problems for you. After collecting reliable data, it improves the performance of your business. This is because most of your business actions are taken based on the data you have gathered. The quality and accuracy of the data used, go a long way in influencing your business’s general output.
  • Understanding customers Without data, it is proper to say your business is running blind. This is because you won’t have any insights into your market and customers. No business wants to operate like that. Data collection comes in handy, especially now that the internet is a goldmine of information. Social media offers a lot of opportunities in terms of data collection. With the right tool to gather enough data, you can understand your customers and the market, which positively affects your business’s growth.
  • Find solutions to business problems Did a campaign go wrong? Or a published content is not getting enough traction? You can deploy scraping tools to help you analyze your marketing channels and the type of reception your content is receiving. At this point, problems can be analyzed and fixed afterward.

What Are Data Collection Tools? Scraping Robot Options

How to collect data with Scraping Robot If you’re serious about data collection, then you need a reliable web scraping company to provide that reliability efficiency. Scraping Robot is dedicated to collecting actionable data. We do everything in our power to make it as easy as possible to extract data from the internet. Our scraping service uses API technology which allows you to automate your data collection process and collect data in real-time.

We also use multiple proxies to allow you to request data from multiple websites simultaneously. To get started scraping the data you need, all you need to do is send us a message detailing your exact data needs. Our developers are always on standby and they’ll get started creating your own custom scraping solution right away. You can also try out some DIY scraping yourself with our prebuilt-modules. When you sign up for our scraping service, you get 5000 free scrapes to extract data from any website of your choice. You are under no obligation to continue after using your free scrapes, but if you choose to, every scrape after costs only $0.0018.

Conclusion

An overview of data collection Data collection has become an essential strategy for businesses and individuals alike.  Several data collection tools, methods, and techniques exist, and efficiency and collection is crucial. Web scraping continues to be a top choice among the list of utilities and Scraping Robot tops the list of web scraping services. Contact us and let’s get started fulfilling all your data needs.

The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.