Experiencing problems in data collection by undergraduate EFL students as novice researchers

Faisal Mustafa, Merina Devira, Heri Apriadi, Bonjovi Hassan Hajan


Data collection is a research process determining the validity and reliability of a study, and novice researchers have been found to experience many problems in this process. However, little study addressed the problem in data collection among these researchers. Therefore, this study was conducted to uncover problems experienced by English as a Foreign Language (EFL) undergraduate students without any previous experience in data collection. Seventeen undergraduate EFL students were assigned to collect data using a two-item questionnaire, which involved communicating with research participants before sending the questionnaire to the participants. After the data collection, they were requested to write a brief report explaining their communication with the participants and the problems they experienced. The reports written by the students were treated as the data for this research and were subjected to qualitative analysis to understand the problems they faced in the data collection. The results show that students experienced some problems in collecting the data, i.e., lack of responses, late responses, a negative response, and uncompleted questionnaires. The results of the study suggest that potential problems in data collection should be introduced to undergraduate EFL students before they conduct their undergraduate research.


EFL undergraduate students; data collection; novice researchers; research process

Full Text:


Article Metrics

Abstract view : 434 times | PDF view : 172 times


American Psychological Association. (2002). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. The American Psychologist, 57(12), 1060–1073. https://doi.org/10.1037/0003-066X.57.12.1060

Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Sorenson, C., & Razavieh, A. (2010). Introduction to research in education (8th ed.). Wadsworth, Cengage Learning. https://doi.org/10.1038/modpathol.2014.11

Ashmore, M., & Reed, D. (2000). Innocence and nostalgia in conversation analysis: the dynamic relations of tape and transcript. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 1(3), 1–19. http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs000335

Barry, V., & Ployé, A. (2013). Obstacles and challenges in writing a doctoral dissertation training: tracks for teachers. Recherche et Formation, 73(2), 57–72. https://doi.org/10.4000/rechercheformation.2092

Benson, A. P., Bowen, T. S., Ferguson, C., Murgatroyd, S. R., & Rossiter, H. B. (2017). Data collection, handling, and fitting strategies to optimize accuracy and precision of oxygen uptake kinetics estimation from breath-by-breath measurements. Journal of Applied Physiology, 123(1), 227–242. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.00988.2016

Best, J. W., & Kahn, J. V. (2006). Research in education (10th ed.). Pearson Education Inc.

Carr, E. M., Zhang, G. D., Ming, J. (Hung) Y., & Siddiqui, Z. S. (2019). Qualitative research: an overview of emerging approaches for data collection. Australasian Psychiatry, 27(3), 307–309. https://doi.org/10.1177/1039856219828164

Carter-Veale, W. Y., Tull, R. G., Rutledge, J. C., & Joseph, L. N. (2016). The dissertation house model: doctoral student experiences coping and writing in a shared knowledge community. CBE Life Sciences Education, 15(3), 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.16-01-0081

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). Routledge Taylor & Francis Group. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203029053

Couper, M. P. (2017). New developments in survey data collection. Annual Review of Sociology, 43, 121–145. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-soc-060116-053613

Creswell, J. W. (2012). Educational research: planning, conducting, and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research (4th ed.). Pearson Education, Inc.

Cutcliffe, J. R., & McKenna, H. P. (2004). Expert qualitative researchers and the use of audit trails. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 45(2), 126–133. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1365-2648.2003.02874.x

Friedlander, E. K. B., Soon, R., Salcedo, J., Tschann, M., Fontanilla, T., & Kaneshiro, B. (2020). Text message link to online survey: a new highly effective method of longitudinal data collection. Contraception, 101(4), 244–248. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2019.11.008

Gaiser, T. J., & Schreiner, A. E. (2009). Survey research on the internet. In T. J. Gaiser & A. E. Schreiner (Eds.), A guide to conducting online research (pp. 68–81). SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9780857029003.d7

Glasgow, R. E., & Emmons, K. M. (2007). How can we increase translation of research into practice? types of evidence needed. Annual Review of Public Health, 28, 413–433. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.publhealth.28.021406.144145

Göritz, A. S. (2006). Incentives in web studies: methodological issues and a review. International Journal of Internet Science, 1(1), 58–70. http://www.ijis.net/ijis1_1/ijis1_1_goeritz.pdf

Gu, P. Y. (2018). Validation of an online questionnaire of vocabulary learning strategies for ESL learners. Studies in Second Language Learning and Teaching, 8(2), 325–350. https://doi.org/10.14746/ssllt.2018.8.2.7

Hammersley, M., & Gomm, R. (2009). Introduction. In R. Gomm, M. Hammersley, & P. Foster (Eds.), Case study method (pp. 1–16). SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9780857024367

Hannigan, B., & Burnard, P. (2001). Preparing and writing an undergraduate dissertation. Nurse Education in Practice, 1(4), 175–180. https://doi.org/10.1054/NEPR.2001.0028

I’Anson, R. A., & Smith, K. A. (2004). Undergraduate research projects and dissertations: issues of topic selection, access and data collection amongst tourism management students. The Journal of Hospitality Leisure Sport and Tourism, 3(1), 19–32. https://doi.org/10.3794/johlste.31.54

Indrian, R. D., & Ardi, P. (2019). Rhetorical structures of English-major undergraduate thesis introduction chapters. Indonesian Journal of EFL and Linguistics, 4(2), 195–214.

Islam, N. S., Khan, S., Kwon, S., Jang, D., Ro, M., & Trinh-Shevrin, C. (2010). Methodological issues in the collection, analysis, and reporting of granular data in Asian American populations: historical challenges and potential solutions. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 21(4), 1354–1381. https://doi.org/10.1353/hpu.2010.0939

Johnson, B., & Masten, D. (1998). Understand what others don’t. Design Management Journal (Former Series), 9(4), 17–22. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1948-7169.1998.tb00224.x

Kabir, S. M. S. (2016). Basic guideline for research: an introductory approach for all disciplines. Book Zone Publication.

Kaminski, T. W., & Pitney, W. A. (2004). Strategies for establishing trustworthiness in qualitative research. Athletic Therapy Today, 9(1), 26–28. https://doi.org/10.1123/att.9.1.26

Khosa, A., Burch, S., Ozdil, E., & Wilkin, C. (2020). Current issues in PhD supervision of accounting and finance students: evidence from Australia and New Zealand. The British Accounting Review, 52(5), 100874. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bar.2019.100874

King, E. (2009). From data problems to data points: challenges and opportunities of research in postgenocide Rwanda. African Studies Review, 52(3), 127–148. https://doi.org/10.1353/arw.0.0295

Kristjansson, A. L., Sigfusson, J., Sigfusdottir, I. D., & Allegrante, J. P. (2013). Data collection procedures for school-based surveys among adolescents: the youth in Europe study. Journal of School Health, 83(9), 662–667. https://doi.org/10.1111/josh.12079

Laosum, T., Kanjanawasee, S., & Pitayanon, T. (2016). Development of a dissertation quality value-added model for humanities and social sciences programs for private higher education institutions in Thailand. Kasetsart Journal of Social Sciences, 37(3), 138–143. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.kjss.2016.08.010

Lown, J. M. (1993). Involving undergraduate students in faculty research. Advancing the Consumer Interest, 5(2), 29–31. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23862837

Lune, H., & Berg, B. L. (2017). Qualitative research methods for the social sciences (9th ed.). Pearson Education Limited.

Marshall, B., Heinzen, T., & Roberts, K. (2009). Methods of data collection. In F. J. Fowler (Ed.), Survey research methods (4th ed.) (pp. 68–85). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781452230184.n5

Mayr, P., & Weller, K. (2016). Think before you collect: setting up a data collection approach for social media studies. In P. Mayr & K. Weller (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of social media research methods (pp. 107–124). SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473983847.n8

McIntosh, L. (2008). Internet data collection. In S. Boslaugh (Ed.), Encyclopedia of epidemiology (pp. 555–557). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412953948.n237

Mei, B., & Brown, G. T. L. (2018). Conducting online surveys in China. Social Science Computer Review, 36(6), 721–734. https://doi.org/10.1177/0894439317729340

Moser, A., & Korstjens, I. (2018). Series: practical guidance to qualitative research. Part 3: Sampling, data collection and analysis. European Journal of General Practice, 24(1), 9–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/13814788.2017.1375091

Okafor, L. E., Khalid, U., & Then, T. (2018). Common unofficial language, development and international tourism. Tourism Management, 67, 127–138. https://doi.org/10.1016/J.TOURMAN.2018.01.008

Olsen, W. (2012). Data collection: Key debates and methods in social research. SAGE Publications, Inc.

Onwuegbuzie, A. J., Leech, N. L., & Collins, K. M. T. (2010). Innovative data collection strategies in qualitative research. Qualitative Report, 15(3), 696–726.

Pawar, M. (2007). Data collection. In N. J. Salkind (Ed.), Encyclopedia of measurement and statistics (pp. 220–225). Sage Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412952644.n123

Plowright, D. (2011). Data collection: an overview. In D. Plowright (Ed.), Using mixed methods: frameworks for an integrated methodology (pp. 49–62). SAGE Publications, Inc. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526485090.n5

Rawat, S., & Meena, S. (2014). Publish or perish: where are we heading? Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 19(2), 87–89.

Roberts, L. D., & Seaman, K. (2018). Good undergraduate dissertation supervision: perspectives of supervisors and dissertation coordinators. International Journal for Academic Development, 23(1), 28–40. https://doi.org/10.1080/1360144X.2017.1412971

Schober, M. F., Suessbrick, A. L., & Conrad, F. G. (2018). When do misunderstandings matter? evidence from survey interviews about smoking. Topics in Cognitive Science, 10(2), 452–484. https://doi.org/10.1111/tops.12330

Shahsavar, Z., & Kourepaz, H. (2020). Postgraduate students’ difficulties in writing their theses literature review. Cogent Education, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1080/2331186X.2020.1784620

Singer, E., Van Hoewyk, J., & Maher, M. P. (2000). Experiments with incentives in telephone surveys. Public Opinion Quarterly, 64(2), 171–188. https://doi.org/10.1086/317761

Small, M. L. (2011). How to conduct a mixed methods study: recent trends in a rapidly growing literature. Annual Review of Sociology, 37, 57–86. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.soc.012809.102657

Tessier, S. (2012). From field notes, to transcripts, to tape recordings: evolution or combination? International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 11(4), 446–460. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940691201100410

Thiry, H., Weston, T. J., Laursen, S. L., & Hunter, A. B. (2012). The benefits of multi-year research experiences: differences in novice and experienced students’ reported gains from undergraduate research. CBE Life Sciences Education, 11(3), 260–272. https://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.11-11-0098

Toepoel, V. (2017). Online survey design. In N. G. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of online research methods (pp. 184–202). SAGE Publications Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781473957992.n11

Tran, T. K., Dinh, H., Nguyen, H., Le, D.-N., Nguyen, D.-K., Tran, A. C., Nguyen-Hoang, V., Nguyen Thi Thu, H., Hung, D., Tieu, S., Khuu, C., & Nguyen, T. A. (2021). The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college students: an online survey. Sustainability, 13(19), 10762. https://doi.org/10.3390/su131910762

Vehovar, V., & Manfreda, K. L. (2008). Overview: online surveys. In N. Fielding, R. M. Lee, & G. Blank (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of online research methods (pp. 176–194). SAGE Publications, Ltd. https://doi.org/10.4135/9780857020055.n10

Weissinger, G. M., & Ulrich, C. M. (2019). Informed consent and ethical reporting of research in clinical trials involving participants with psychotic disorders. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 84. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2019.06.009

Wheeldon, J., & Faubert, J. (2009). Framing experience: concept maps, mind maps, and data collection in qualitative research. International Journal of Qualitative Methods, 8(3), 68–83. https://doi.org/10.1177/160940690900800307

DOI: https://doi.org/10.23971/jefl.v12i2.4111

Article Metrics

Abstract view : 434 times
PDF - 172 times


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 THE AUTHOR(S)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

JEFL is published by Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Palangka Raya in collaboration with the Association of Teachers of English Linguistics, Literature and Education (ELITE Association) in Indonesia [MoU manuscript].

Editor and Administration Address:

Department of English Language EducationFaculty of Teacher Training and Education, Institut Agama Islam Negeri (IAIN) Palangka Raya, Jalan G. Obos Komplek Islamic Centre Palangka Raya, Kalimantan Tengah, Indonesia, Postal Code 73111, Email: jefl@iain-palangkaraya.ac.id, Website: http://e-journal.iain-palangkaraya.ac.id/index.php/jefl

OAI address of JEFL is available at http://e-journal.iain-palangkaraya.ac.id/index.php/jefl/oai

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

stats View My Stats

Flag Counter