Q. Explain different kinds of fact gathering techniques?
After obtaining this background knowledge, the analyst begins to collect data on the existing system's outputs, inputs, and costs. The tools used for information gathering are:
- Review of Written Documents: The first step to gather information of a system is to search and review the various forms of written documents such as professional references, procedure manuals, textbooks, company studies, government publications, consultant studies, etc. of that system.
- On-site observations: The major objective of on-site observation is to get close to the real system being studied. The methods used may be natural or contrived, obtrusive or unobtrusive, direct or indirect, and structured or unstructured. The main limitation of observation is the difficulty of observing attitudes and motivation and the many unproductive hours that often are spent in observing one-time activities.
- Interviews: It is a face-to-face interpersonal meeting designed to identify relations and capture information as it exists. It is flexible tool, offering a better opportunity than the questionnaire to evaluate the validity of the information gathered. The major drawback is preparation time. Interviewing is an art that requires experience in arranging the interview, setting the stage, establishing rapport, phrasing questions clearly, avoiding arguments, and evaluating the outcome.
- Questionnaires: It is a self-administered tool that is more economical and requires less skill to administer than the interview. It examines a large number of respondents at the same time, provides standardized wording and instructions, and places less pressure on subjects for immediate response. The main drawback is the low percentage of returns. In constructing a questionnaire, the analyst must focus on question content, wording, and format. These are considered with validity and that stem from respondent's failure to remember specific details, reluctant to report the true impressions of what occurred, or inability to communicate information.