One of the most common data collection techniques for Needs Assessment and Needs Analysis Studies is interviews. Here's a technique we have used successfully on many needs analysis projects. It is faster, easier and more accurate.
While conducting the interviews, record them with a good recorder and have them transcribed. A court reporting company or the services of a conference call center (if telephone interviews are used) will take the burden of transcription off of you and will speed the process.
The court reporters or the conference call centers will provide an electronic copy of the interview, as well as a hard copy, usually within 48 hours. Using this process, electronic copies of all interviews can be available within two days of the last interview.
Once the electronic copies are received, the comments can be sorted into problem categories. Comments are then summarized within each category. Recommendations are built from the summary information. This process makes the report more accurate (better) because what people actually said has been captured, rather than relying upon notes. The process moves more quickly using transcription services (faster), and it is certainly less time consuming and laborious (easier), compared to having instructional designers undertake all the work. The time and effort of instructional design professionals are saved for analysis, summarization, and recommendations.
This technique is also excellent for interviewing content experts, especially those that you must interview by telephone.
See you next time,