Data Collection and Descriptive Research for ISO 9000:2000 Compliance at ImageStream
ImageStream Internet Solutions, Inc. is a privately held company in its 9th year of operation. ImageStream engineers, manufactures, and distributes Linux-based routing products for network and Internet applications. ImageStream products are used by Internet service providers (ISPs), governments, schools, and businesses in more than 75 countries around the world. As ImageStream moves toward its next decade, market forces require it, like most high technology companies, to be fast and responsive. The company faces constant change in demands and needs along with the pressures of mission creep in the face of limited resources. It is against this backdrop that ImageStream started its ISO 9000:2000 certification process. This process relies heavily on descriptive research and data collection techniques.
Descriptive Research and Data Collection
Descriptive research methods analyze the "who, what, when, where, and how of a topic." (Cooper, 2002).
Descriptive research methods also observe, analyze and describe information about a population as researchers gather it through various data collection techniques. Descriptive research identifies distinctions in data sets, but does not attempt to determine the underlying causes for the differences.
ImageStream uses several data collection techniques including survey, observational and archival research, as well as in-depth case studies. Each collection technique seeks to gather the data required to confirm or deny a hypothesis. Grounded in theory, researchers use hypotheses to question or state the size, form, distribution, or existence or a variable or set of variables (Cooper, 2002). Survey research methods select a representative sample of the population under study for data collection (Joppe, n.d.). At ImageStream, the "population" in question is the company's customer base. Researchers using observational research collect data through mechanical, human, electronic, electrical or other means (Joppe, n.d.). Case studies compare representative situations from the studied...