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Data collection tools — everything you need to know

data collection tools
By Nicholas Edwards. Last Updated September 18, 2023

In today’s digital world, data is the lifeblood of business. How you collect, store, and manage data could be the difference between success and failure. This is where the right data collection tool can help. 

But with so many to choose from, how do you know where to start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. 

In this article, we’ll explain: 

  • What a data collection tool is 
  • The benefits of using one
  • The best tools on the market, and how they differ

What is a data collection tool?

Data collection tools help us gather and process the abundance of data that’s out there. 

It could be statistics, numbers, facts, opinions — anything that helps us understand a subject better. 

Without a dedicated tool for collecting data, businesses have to rely on cobbled-together systems and manual processes. Data collection tools simplify and automate the gathering and storing of data, allowing you to: 

  • Save time and money
  • Ensure accuracy
  • Consolidate data in a single place
  • Use data more effectively
  • Provide a superior user experience

What different data collection methods are there?

There are several ways tools can capture information, and they vary depending on the type of data and its source. Let’s look at the two most common types.

Primary data collection methods

Primary data refers to information that is collected firsthand for a specific project or research purpose. It involves direct interaction with the subjects or sources of data. Examples of primary data collection solutions include:

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Observations
  • Experiments
  • Focus groups

Secondary data collection methods

Secondary data includes all types of information that someone else collected but are relevant to your project or business. Common sources of secondary data include:

  • Published sources
  • Business reports
  • Online databases
  • Past research studies
  • Historical data

Apart from these two types, we also recognize the extra pair of data collection methods: qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative data collection methods

Qualitative data is descriptive, such as customer reviews, testimonials, or opinions. It is often captured via forms, surveys, or questionnaires, using open questions and free-text fields. 

Large qualitative data sets are difficult to analyze but looking for patterns and themes makes it manageable.

Quantitative data collection methods

Quantitative data is anything you can measure or count, such as star ratings, percentage scores, or website clicks. It’s often captured using tools that measure specific actions or outcomes. Alternatively, you can use surveys, forms, and questionnaires that support numerical or limited-choice answers.

Is data collection the same thing as data analytics?

Not quite.

Data collection is about gathering the information you need. Data analytics turns that raw data into actionable insights or visualisations. Whether you need both will depend on the type of data you are collecting.  

For example, if you are onboarding new clients, you don’t need an analytics tool to uncover trends or forecasts in that data. But if you’re collecting data around employee engagement, user behaviour, or website views, an analytics tool will provide much-needed context.

The best data collection tools in 2023

So now we know what data collection tools are and why they are important, it’s time to look at some specific examples. Here are seven of the best data collection tools on the market. 

1. Content Snare: Best for collecting client information

Content Snare is a powerful, user-friendly tool for gathering client information, documents, and other primary data. It streamlines the entire process, from creating and sharing custom forms to automating reminders — and much more.

Instead of having client information spread across multiple systems, or lost in endless back-and-forth email chains, you have everything you need in one place. And with our slick UX, Content Snare guides customers through the process of submitting information. 

Key benefits include:

  • A growing library of ready-made templates
  • Build custom forms, questionnaires, and surveys with personalised branding
  • Automated reminders for missing information
  • Create all kinds of information requests 
  • Approve or reject submissions with a single click
  • Auto-saving allows clients to pick up where they started
  • Intuitive dashboards for a company-wide view of progress

Best for: Content Snare covers a broad range of information-gathering use cases. That said, we’re particularly popular with accountants, digital agencies, and legal professionals. If you need a smarter way to onboard clients, store key client data, or gather project-related information, look no further than Content Snare.

2. Magpi: Best for collecting field data

Magpi is an enterprise-grade mobile data collection tool. It allows businesses to collect a range of field data using any mobile device. Examples include activity reports, equipment inspection checklists, and maintenance surveys.

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Key benefits include: 

  • Offline data entry means you can collect data anywhere, anytime
  • Interactive Voice Response (IVR) allows users to submit data using speech
  • Create a range of simple, no-code mobile forms
  • Real-time dashboards turn submitted data into powerful visualisations
  • Seamless integration with your existing systems

Best for: Companies that need to collect a wide range of field data. Its mobile-first approach and ability to collect data offline make it ideal for surveys and checklists in industries such as construction, engineering, agriculture, and energy.

3. Culture Amp: Best for employee satisfaction data

Culture Amp is a data collection tool that focuses on the employee experience. It allows businesses to create surveys around employee engagement, sentiment, diversity and inclusion, and much more. Beyond surveys, Culture Amp also offers a range of analytics-based insights and reporting.

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Key benefits include:

  • Over 30 customisable survey templates
  • Pinpoint high-priority areas in need of urgent action
  • Predictive insights around employee turnover and attrition rates
  • Industry benchmarks to compare your organisation against

Best for: Businesses that want to keep their finger on the pulse of employee engagement and satisfaction. Especially those looking to take a more data-driven approach to their decision-making.

4. Zonka Feedback: Best for collecting customer feedback

Zonka is a customer experience platform that allows businesses to understand customer sentiment. You can quickly create customer satisfaction score (CSAT), customer effort score (CES), and net promoter score (NPS) surveys. It also offers reporting and analytics to drill down into the collected data.

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Key features include: 

  • 500+ ready-made templates
  • Multilingual surveys cater for a global audience
  • Real-time reporting and notifications
  • Automated workflows
  • Seamless integration with Zendesk, Slack, Google Sheets, and more

Best for: Companies looking for a simple way to gauge and analyse customer satisfaction. Zonka’s multilingual surveys will particularly appeal to brands with a global reach. 

5. SurveySparrow: Best for refining the product experience

SurveySparrow is an omnichannel experience management platform. It covers various use cases, including product experience, customer experience, and employee experience. SurveySparrow enables a range of primary data collection methods and survey styles, including regular, conversational, and video forms.

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Key features include: 

  • Conversational surveys with intuitive UX
  • Real-time reporting and analytics
  • White labelling and customised branding 
  • Customer journey maps
  • Data collection via chatbots

Best for: SurveySparrow is an ideal tool for businesses looking to understand what customers think about their product, service, or brand. Its omnichannel approach and range of survey styles allow you to connect with customers wherever they are. For the same reason, however, SurveySparrow might not be the simplest tool for gathering straightforward client data.

6. Teamscope: Best for clinical research data

Teamscope is a data-gathering tool designed to help organisations collect clinical research data. Given the sensitivity of medical data, it has a strong focus on security, with all data stored in the app being fully encrypted.

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Key features include:

  • Simple form-builder for gathering medical data
  • Offline data collection 
  • Data visualisations and reporting
  • Automatic reminders 
  • Query management ensures accurate data collection

Best for: Clinics, research institutes, or even entire health services. Pretty much any organisation that needs to collect sensitive patient data simply and securely. 

7. Google Forms: Best free data collection tool

Google Forms is most people’s go-to form-builder — and for good reason. You can create unlimited forms, with unlimited questions, for free. It comes with a decent range of features, and it’s relatively simple to use.

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Key features include:

  • Build simple forms with minimum hassle
  • Analyse the collected data, with real-time visualisations
  • Forms are available for any mobile, tablet, or computer
  • Data is encrypted in transit and at rest
  • Seamless integration with other Google tools 

Best for: Businesses wanting to create simple forms on a budget. That said, Google Form’s lack of autosave or customisation options means those needing a slicker UX might want to look elsewhere.

Content Snare — the smarter way to collect client data

As you can see, there are many options when it comes to choosing the right data collection tool.

Each has its own benefits, focussing on a slightly different use case or data collection method. 

The right choice for you will depend on your specific needs. But if you’re looking for a complete system for capturing, approving, and storing client data, look no further than Content Snare.

With our platform, you can build and share custom forms, manage requests and approvals, and store all your client data, documents, and content. All in one place. 

Ready to give it a try?

Transform the data collection process with Content Snare

Content Snare simplifies the process of collecting client data. With its powerful features and slick UX, you’ll save time, boost productivity, and enjoy better client relationships.

Try it for free

Nicholas Edwards

Nicholas Edwards is a content writer from the UK.

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