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  1. Observation

-Use of eyes to observe features or weather then information is recorded immediately e.g. cloud cover, rocks, soil, land forms, vegetation, etc.


Gives 1st hand information which is reliable.

Relevant material to the study is collected.

Time saving since one doesn’t have to look for data in many places.


  1. a) Data on past activities isn’t available.
  2. b) May be hindered by weather conditions e.g. mist and dust storms.
  3. c) Ineffective for people with visual disabilities.
  4. d) Tiresome and expensive as it involves a lot of travelling because physical presence is required.
  5. Interviewing

-Gathering information from people by direct discussions then answers are recorded.

It may be face to face or on a telephone.

A questionnaire prepared in advance is used.


  1. One should be polite
  2. Warm and friendly
  3. Respondents/ interviewees should be assured information is confidential.
  4. Respondent should not be interrupted when answering questions.
  5. They should not be given clues but answers should come from them.


  1. Reliable first hand information is collected.
  2. Interviewer can seek clarification incase of ambiguity of answers.
  3. Can be used on illiterate.
  4. Interviewer can gauge the accuracy of responses.


  1. a) Time consuming since one person can be handled at a time.
  2. b) Expensive and tiresome as extensive travelling is required to meet the respondents.
  3. c) May encounter language barrier if the respondent doesn’t speak the same language as the interviewer.
  4. d) A respondent may lie, exaggerate or distort facts leading to collection of wrong information.
  5. Administering questionnaires

– Set of systematically structured questions printed on paper used on interviews or sent to respondents to fill answers.


1 Open-ended questionnaire-in which respondent is given a chance to express his views. The disadvantage is that different answers are given which are difficult to analyse.

2 Closed-ended (rigid) questionnaire-in which respondents are given answers to choose from.

Characteristics of a good questionnaire

  • Short
  • Uses simple language
  • Systematically arranged from simple to difficult
  • Clear questions
  • Doesn’t touch on respondent’s privacy


  1. a) Comparisons can be made since questions are similar.
  2. b) First hand information which is relevant to current trends and situation is collected.
  3. c) Saves money on travelling as physical presence isn’t required.
  4. d) Saves time as all respondents are handled at the same time.
  5. e) A lot of information can be collected.


  1. a) Difficult analysis due to different answers.
  2. b) Some questionnaires may be sent back while blank by lazy respondents.
  3. c) Can’t be used on illiterate respondents.
  4. d) Some respondents may write wrong information.
  5. Content analysis

-Technique of collecting data from secondary sources.

This is by reading, watching films, viewing photographs and listening to get what is relevant.


  1. a) Easy to get data if analysed.
  2. b) Cheap as there isn’t extensive travelling
  3. c) Saves time as all information is in one place.
  4. d) Possible to get old data


  1. a) Difficult to verify accuracy of data
  2. b) Data may be irrelevant to current trends
  3. c) Up to date data may not be readily available
  4. Measuring

-Determining distances, areas, height or depth using instruments and recording.

Distance can be estimated by pacing or taking steps of equal and unknown length.

  1. Collecting Samples

-Getting a small part e.g. of soil, rock or vegetation to represent the whole to be used to carry out tests in the laboratory.

  1. Counting/census taking

– Arithmetical counting and recording.

  1. Photographing

– Capturing on film or video and still photographs.

  1. Digging

– Using tools such as hoe pick axe, spade or soil auger to get samples of soil and rocks.

  1. Feeling and touching

– Using fingers to feel the surfaces of soils and rocks to get their textures.

  1. sampling

– Examining by taking a sample -a part representing the whole (population).


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