Data collection tools and techniques

Data collection tools and techniques

Data spreadsheet

There are a range of tools and techniques that can be used to collect data during root cause analysis. Some of these include sampling and check sheets.


In the majority of cases, it is impracticable or impossible to consider every piece of data in relation to an issue being investigated. Sampling is a process where a selection of information is selected and used to estimate the characteristics of the total. It is important to take into account homogeneity of the population and any clustering of data. Care must be taken to ensure the sample is representative of the total for which the findings will be attributed.

So for Scenario Y (Boggles Buns), make sure that cream scone documentation is examined, not that for jam scones or cream buns.

The advantage of this process is that it helps to economise data collection. There are various techniques that can be applied. These include, but are not restricted to, random, systematic, stratified and cluster sampling.

Check sheet

Collecting data can be unstructured. A check sheet may help to provide evidence of a methodical approach to the collection of data. The advantages of using a check sheet include:

  • Can be used as a guide
  • Systematically register data as it is collected
  • Provide evidence if required
  • A document that can be referred back to

Using Scenario X (Biggles tea shop), a check sheet could ensure that display temperature records for all products are evaluated.