Collecting data has several important characteristics. First, it is often time-consuming and difficult. It is useful to remember Hofstadter's Law "Everything always takes longer than you think it is going to take, even after you have taken into account Hofstadter's Law". Secondly, getting data from the web is neither as easy nor as desirable as many students expect. Much data is not on the web and the most easily accessible data has already analysed to the point of boredom. Furthermore, some web pages are very difficult to use or need passwords.


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Despite all of this, data collection is very worthwhile and an incredibly useful skill. It is very rewarding when you finally get the data that you want. Treat it as the big challenge!

The information within this section has drawn heavily on a guide written by Dr Edmund Cannon, Reader of Economics at the University of Bristol.

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