Data collection usually takes place early on in an improvement project, and is often formalised through a data collection Plan  which often contains the following activity.
- Pre collection activity – Agree goals, target data, definitions, methods
- Collection – data collection
- Present Findings – usually involves some form of sorting analysis and/or presentation.
A formal data collection process is necessary as it ensures that data gathered is both defined and accurate and that subsequent decisions based on arguments embodied in the findings are valid . The process provides both a baseline from which to measure from and in certain cases a target on what to improve.
Caboodle - Data Collection System for the Web
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