Qualitative Data Collection and Instrument Design

Educator or District Leader designs instruments to collect qualitative data through reviewing published research and compilation of existing instrument items.
Made by Digital Promise Marketplace and Research

About this Micro-credential

Key Method

The educator or district leader determines the necessary qualitative data to collect and also identifies the types of instruments, timeline, and participants involved in the data collection. The educator or district leader reviews publicly available research instruments and uses these to create data collection instruments, such as a survey that includes open-ended questions, one or more interview, or focus group protocol(s) to gather qualitative data from pilot participants.

Method Components

1. Identify the metrics you would like to measure.

The first step in data collection is to explicitly articulate the metrics that need to be collected. Consider the goal or research question involved in this project to identify the appropriate data necessary to answer your question or measure the success of a pilot.

2. Determine the appropriate audience(s).

Once you have determined the metrics that you need to collect in your study, it is important to identify the appropriate audience(s) from whom to collect this data. For example, many studies gather qualitative data from students, educators, and district leaders; however, in some cases it may be appropriate to gather data from additional stakeholders such as parents, instructional coaches, or principals.

3. Craft questions to collect data for each metric.

In order to create data collection instruments, you need to craft the questions that you will include, such as open-ended survey questions and interview or focus group protocols. It is best to research survey questions that measure the specific constructs you have identified. During this research, try to emphasize item questions that have been tested for validity and reliability to ensure they measure the intended construct. If you are unable to find exact questions for your instrument, try to modify existing questions to meet the criteria of your instrument (for example, if you find a survey question from a published source that asks, “What did you like about this program?,” you could modify the question to read, “What did you like about Achieve3000?”). It is important to use valid and reliable or research-based questions in your qualitative instrument design to be sure you gather the data you intended to collect (see Edtech Pilot Post-Survey, Edtech Pilot Teacher Pre-Survey, Pilot to Purchase Teacher Survey Questions, Teacher Focus Group Protocol, and Educational Technology Integration Questionnaire [ETIQ] in the resources).

4. Devise a plan to administer the data collection instruments.

It is important to collect pre- and post-data to measure trends over the course of a study. To do so, it is critical to create a plan for administering the instruments. Plans should include procedural and logistical factors along with concrete dates. For example, it is important to block off planned times with educators to conduct interviews or focus groups. In these instances, be sure to follow the protocol you’ve created to ensure that you ask users questions consistently. In the case of surveys, it is helpful to consider holiday and testing schedules when distributing the data collection instrument, and to send reminders to ensure higher response rates.

Research & Resources

Supporting Research


Submission Requirements

Submission Guidelines & Evaluation Criteria

To earn the micro-credential, you must receive a passing evaluation for Parts 1 and 3. You must receive a “Yes” in all parts submitted in Part 2.

Part 1. Overview Questions

Identify the metrics necessary to measure the efficacy of a program or product, or to answer your research question. Please complete Part 1 before moving to Part 2.

Describe the metrics you plan to collect, making sure to consider metrics that could be collected through

  • Open-ended questions in student pre/post surveys
  • Student interviews or focus groups
  • Open-ended questions in educator pre/post educator surveys
  • Educator interviews or focus groups
  • Pre- and mid-year and post-pilot classroom observations
  • What type(s) of instrument(s) should you use in this study? Why? Who will be required to fill out the instruments? Students? Educators? A district leader?

    Will your study include surveys, focus groups or interviews, scripted classroom observations (i.e., note-taking while observing a classroom), or another qualitative data collection tool?

  • List the type(s) of instrument(s) you plan to use and why you chose those types of instruments and not others (for example, the study only involves one teacher, so an interview would collect insightful feedback whereas a survey would not yield additional information since an interview is planned).
  • Write one to two sentences describing the qualitative data collection instrument(s) that you will include in your pilot along with the specific participants from whom you will collect data using the instruments.

    When will you administer the data collection instruments?

  • Create a timeline to plan when the data collection instruments will be administered to each group involved in the collection of data. Consider holiday and testing schedules when administering instruments to students and educators.

Part 2. Work Examples / Artifacts

To earn this micro-credential, please submit a document with the following:

Submit at least one qualitative data collection instrument.

This instrument can be the open-ended questions in a student or educator survey, a student or educator interview protocol, or a classroom observation tool that involves scripted note-taking (a technique that involves writing down everything you observe in the classroom; see Sample Observation Techniques Tool in the resources). You are welcome to share multiple instruments as well.

Part 3. Reflection

(200-word limit)

After you have designed the qualitative data collection instrument(s), write a reflection that addresses the following:

  • Did this process change the way you collect data? If yes, how so? If not, why not?
  • Did this process impact the way you intend to determine whether an edtech tool is being used successfully? If yes, how so? Why or why not?
  • Did this process change the way you engage other stakeholders (educators, district leaders) in a study? Did educators report feeling more or less involved?
  • What lessons can you take away from this professional learning experience that you can continue to use in future pilot planning processes and pilot processes?

Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under:
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Download to access the requirements and scoring guide for this micro-credential.
How to prepare for and earn this micro-credential - in a downloadable PDF document

Ready to get started?