Data collection


An important part of the Open Science Schooling (OSS) is to develop the students’ ability to carry out scientific investigations. In order to develop such skills, teachers must encourage students to ask questions and find things out in scientific manners. Student’s missions point out areas of interest and set directions for their inquiries (See also 2. Identify a problem and 3. Plan of action) and teachers are to scaffold the students as they design their own research and collect data in a scientific way.

Your role as a teacher

Data collection can be …

  • Finding information and facts. The teacher helps students to find reliable sources and to verify information. The students use note techniques to take out relevant information and organize it. They can use written, audio- or video recordings for this purpose.
  • To do an interview. The teacher can support the students in their preparation of the interview, eg. by asking them questions of what they want to know, who they want to interview and how to ask questions in order to get the wanted information. Questions are written down and answers may either be written down as well or the whole session can be audio recorded.
  • The study of models. The students can explain their understanding of models orally and write it down so that the teacher can get an idea of their process. Likewise, the models’ relevance for their mission must be clear and explained.
  • Observation/experiment. The teacher’s role is here to make sure that the student’s design will provide them with the kind of information that they ask for and that it will support their mission. It is of significant importance that the teacher conducts a constructive dialog with the students (Click the button “Teacher’s role” in the main menu for more information) in order to develop their understanding of how to collect data and what it can be used for. Ways of making records of data are also to be determined.

In general a key role of the teacher is to encourage students to take critical views on both methods of data collection and the data in itself in order for them to be able to develop as critical science detectives. Ongoing reflections upon and revision of their designs supports this development and must be seen as a natural part of the students’ learning process.

Before next step

Once the type (-s) of data collection is decided, considerations of how to register, secure and share data for further processing must be done. The teacher’s role in this part of the process is to provide options for the students to consider, e.g. worksheets and practical things such as cardboard and plastic bags when the students do fieldwork and different kinds of digital and analog tools and equipment to produce and log data.  Especially when the students use pictures/ videos and audio recordings the teacher must ensure that the students make the necessary agreements so that no persons are offended and no legislation is violated (GDPR).


You can read more in the guide