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Abstract

Data collection is critical to the social research process. When implemented correctly, data collection enhances the quality of a social research study. However, doctoral students and early career researchers may encounter challenges with data collection. This article reports on the data collection challenges in dissertation research encountered by doctoral students enrolled in a public health program at a southeastern United States urban university. Each doctoral student shared at least one challenge and how it affected the data collection process. Additionally, the doctoral students shared how the identified challenges were addressed or suggested recommendations. Understanding these experiences of doctoral students is helpful for doctoral students and early career researchers conducting social research. The lessons learned may guide faculty in research mentoring and structuring research seminars for doctoral students.

Keywords

Data Collection, Early Career Researchers, Doctoral Students, Qualitative Methods

Author Bio(s)

Marylen Rimando completed a three-year Postdoctoral Research Associate position at Georgia Southern University’s Rural Health Research Institute. She earned her PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia and MPH from the Mercer University School of Medicine. Her research interests include chronic disease management and education among minorities, older adults, and underserved patients. She is also interested in patient-centered care approaches, health literacy, and clinician-patient communication in the clinical setting. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: Marylen Rimando at, marylencr@gmail.com.

Andrea M. Brace earned a BA in Psychology from the University of Delaware, a BS in Biological Sciences and a MS in Health Promotion from Mississippi State University, and a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Andrea has been CHES certified for six years, and an evaluator for nine years. Her research interests include looking at the relationship between place and food access and food choices, food equity, stealth interventions, and program planning and evaluation. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Andrea M. Brace at, abrace@towson.edu.

Apophia Namageyo-Funa received an MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University and a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Since 2003 Dr. Namageyo-Funa has worked in the field of diabetes prevention and control and has collaborated with researchers to analyze, publish, and present on diabetes among disparate populations. Dr. Namageyo-Funa’s research interests are in the promotion of health among disparate populations. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Apophia Namageyo-Funa at, apophia8@uga.edu.

Tiffany L. Parr serves as the Child Health Senior Manager Epidemiologist for the Maternal and Child Health Office of Epidemiology at the Georgia Department of Public Health. Dr. Parr manages Epidemiologists and Data Analysts while conducting epidemiological research for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and various Child Health programs. Dr. Parr has earned a Master of Science in Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and Doctor of Public Health from the University of Georgia. Dr. Parr focuses on spatial epidemiology and health promotion to examine the needs of various at-risk populations. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Tiffany L. Parr at, tlparr-fowles@dhr.state.ga.us.

Diadrey-Anne Sealy is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of the Southern Caribbean in the School of Science and Technology. Prior to this appointment she was an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University. She earned her PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior at the University of Georgia and she has an MSc in Food Science and Technology. She has presented at national Public Health conferences on her research. Her research interests include women’s health, cancer education, and social support. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Diadrey-Anne Sealy at, dsealy@llm.edu.

Teaniese L. Davis is a Visiting Assistant Professor in Psychology at Morehouse College. Dr. Davis earned a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Her research focuses on HIV and STD prevention among adolescents and young adults. She has worked in public health research since 2001. Her initial introduction into public health was as a Health Educator for HIV/STD risk-reduction interventions. She has experience in intervention development, implementation, and evaluation. Her current work continues to explore sexual partnerships among adolescents and young adults, sexual decision-making, and factors impacting HIV/STD risk-reduction strategies. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Teaniese L. Davis at, teaniese.davis@morehouse.edu.

Lourdes M. Martinez is a Health Communications Specialist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She earned a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Her research area of interest is Latino health, specifically parent-child communication about sexual health and pregnancy prevention, beliefs and intent towards human papillomavirus vaccination, and cervical cancer prevention and education. Dr. Martinez obtained a master of science degree in Adult Education and a bachelors of science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Florida International University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Lourdes M. Martinez at, lourdsmart@yahoo.com.

Richard W. Christiana is currently an Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in Anthropology from Binghamton University, a Master of Arts degree in Anthropology from the University at Albany, and a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. Dr. Christiana’s research focuses on community-based participatory approaches to prevent childhood obesity by promoting positive physical activity and nutrition behaviors. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: Richard W. Christiana at, christianarw@appstate.edu.

Publication Date

12-21-2015

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.

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