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Engineering LibreTexts

7.4: Other Fact-Finding Techniques and Misleading Data

  • Page ID
    57400
  • In addition to interview, Questionnaires, and survey analysts use other fact-finding techniques including documents review, Observation, and research. These fact-finding techniques are used to help system analysts develop good interview questions.

    Document review: the fact finding base on reviewing documents can help you understand how the system is supposed to work. It is very important to make sure that the documents are for the system currently in use and are up to date.

    Direct Observation: observation is another fact-finding technique, witnessing how the system works will help you understand the system operation better. In addition, the technique can also help make sure that the system documentation and the interview answers are accurate or not. Direct observation can also be use as an additional means of verification that the data collected about a system from the interview are accurate and reliable.Young worker using digital tablet at warehouse for industrial observation

    Plan your observations by preparing a list of specific things you want to observe and ask many questions to the people working to ensure that you understand the current system and review and study all necessary document. Since, the goal of the observation is to see how the changes of the system can improve employees productivity, while observing the people at work consider the factor called the Hawthorne Effect (effect where the workers productivity improve when they know they are being observed). Always give advance notice to the supervisor and in some cases it might be helpful to explain the purpose of the your visit to the people being observed.

    Research: research is another important fact-finding technique that uses public sources like the Internet, magazine, Newsletter and books. Research is conducted to collect accurate information, materials, and news about industry trends and development.

     magnifying glass with document to illustrate internet research

    The internet is a very important resource for research. When using the internet you can access information from government, universities, publishers, and libraries all over the world at the blink of an eye. Also, with the internet you can access newsgroup and forum to exchange information with other professional form you field seeking answers to question and monitoring discussions that are of interest to you.

    Data misleading: data misleading could be defined as the misrepresentation of a particular group, or data that will produce inaccurate results.

    In statistics, a misleading graph, also known as a distorted graph, is a graph that misrepresents data, constitutes a misuse of statistics and with the result that an incorrect conclusion may be derived from it.

    Graphs may be misleading by being excessively complex or poorly constructed. Even when constructed to display the characteristics of their data accurately, graphs can be subject to different interpretations, or unintended kinds of data can seemingly and ultimately erroneously be derived.[1]

    Misleading graphs may be created intentionally to hinder the proper interpretation of data or accidentally due to unfamiliarity with graphing software, misinterpretation of data, or because data cannot be accurately conveyed. Misleading graphs are often used in false advertising.

    Sampling bias: In statistics, sampling bias is a bias in which a sample is collected in such a way that some members of the intended population have a lower or higher sampling probability than others. It results in a biased sample[1] of a population (or non-human factors) in which all individuals, or instances, were not equally likely to have been selected.[2] If this is not accounted for, results can be erroneously attributed to the phenomenon under study rather than to the method of sampling.

    Chapter Questions:

    1. What are the pros and cons of the following fact-finding types:face-to-face interview. telephone interview and self-administered interviews?
    2. Describe the different steps when planning for an interview.
    3. What are three types of sampling? give a brief description of each.
    4. List 3 guidelines for the wording of survey questions Can the order of questions affect survey results?
    5. Please explain What are some factors that can affect survey results.
    6. What is the difference between a sample and a population?
    7. Explain what is an open-ended question and close-ended and range of respond question? Give an example for each.
    8. What is the Hawthorne Effect? Have you ever experienced it? When and where?
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