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Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
The task of data collection begins after a research problem has been defined and research
design/ plan chalked out. While deciding about the method of data collection to be used for
the study, the researcher should keep in mind two types of data viz., primary and secondary.

The primary data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time, and thus happen
to be original in character. The secondary data, on the other hand, are those which have
already been collected by someone else and which have already been passed through the
statistical process. The researcher would have to decide which sort of data he would be using
(thus collecting) for his study and accordingly he will have to select one or the other method
of data collection. The methods of collecting primary and secondary data differ since primary
data are to be originally collected, while in case of secondary data the nature of data
collection work is merely that of compilation. We describe the different methods of data
collection, with the pros and cons of each method.

COLLECTION OF PRIMARY DATA

We collect primary data during the course of doing experiments in an experimental research
but in case we do research of the descriptive type and perform surveys, whether sample
surveys or census surveys, then we can obtain primary data either through observation or
through direct communication with respondents in one form or another or through personal
interviews.* This, in other words, means that there are several methods of collecting primary
data, particularly in surveys and descriptive researches. Important ones are: (i) observation
method, (ii) interview method, (iii) through questionnaires, (iv) through schedules, and (v)
other methods which include (a) warranty cards; (b) distributor audits; (c) pantry audits; (d)
consumer panels; (e) using mechanical devices; (f) through projective techniques; (g) depth
interviews, and (h) content analysis.

Interview Method
The interview method of collecting data involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply
in terms of oral-verbal responses. This method can be used through personal interviews and,
if possible, through telephone interviews.

                               PERSONAL INTERVIEWS
Personal interview method requires a person known as the interviewer asking questions
generally in a face-to-face contact to the other person or persons. (At times the interviewee
may also ask certain questions and the interviewer responds to these, but usually the
interviewer initiates the interview and collects the information.)

This sort of interview may be in the form of direct personal investigation or it may be indirect
oral investigation. In the case of direct personal investigation the interviewer has to collect
the information personally from the sources concerned. He has to be on the spot and has to
meet people from whom data have to be collected.
The method of collecting information through personal interviews is usually carried out in a
structured way. As such we call the interviews as structured interviews. Such interviews
involve the use of a set of predetermined questions and of highly standardised techniques of
                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      1                                             Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                           [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
recording. Thus, the interviewer in a structured interview follows a rigid procedure laid down,
asking questions in a form and order prescribed.

As against it, the unstructured interviews are characterised by a flexibility of approach to
questioning. Unstructured interviews do not follow a system of pre-determined questions and
standardised techniques of recording information. In a non-structured interview, the
interviewer is allowed much greater freedom to ask, in case of need, supplementary
questions or at times he may omit certain questions if the situation so requires. He may even
change the sequence of questions. He has relatively greater freedom while recording the
responses to include some aspects and exclude others. But this sort of flexibility results in
lack of comparability of one interview with another and the analysis of unstructured
responses becomes much more difficult and time-consuming than that of the structured
responses obtained in case of structured interviews. Unstructured interviews also demand
deep knowledge and greater skill on the part of the interviewer.

                         Advantages of Personal Interview

The chief merits of the interview method are as follows:

  1. More information and that too in greater depth can be obtained.
  2. Interviewer by his own skill can overcome the resistance, if any, of the respondents;
     the interview method can be made to yield an almost perfect sample of the general
     population.
  3. There is greater flexibility under this method as the opportunity to restructure
     questions is always there, specially in case of unstructured interviews.
  4. Observation method can as well be applied to recording verbal answers to various
     questions.
  5. Personal information can as well be obtained easily under this method.
  6. Samples can be controlled more effectively as there arises no difficulty of the missing
     returns; non-response generally remains very low.
  7. The interviewer can usually control which person(s) will answer the questions. This is
     not possible in mailed questionnaire approach. If so desired, group discussions may
     also be held.
  8. The interviewer may catch the informant off-guard and thus may secure the most
     spontaneous reactions than would be the case if mailed questionnaire is used.
  9. The language of the interview can be adopted to the ability or educational level of the
     person interviewed and as such misinterpretations concerning questions can be
     avoided.
 10. The interviewer can collect supplementary information about the respondent’s
    personal characteristics and environment which is often of great value in interpreting
    results.


                     Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      2                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                     SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
                         Limitations of Personal Interview
But there are also certain weaknesses of the interview method. Among the important
weaknesses, mention may be made of the following:
  1) It is a very expensive method, specially when large and widely spread geographical
     sample is taken.
  2) There remains the possibility of the bias of interviewer as well as that of the
     respondent; there also remains the headache of supervision and control of
     interviewers.
  3) Certain types of respondents such as important officials or executives or people in high
     income groups may not be easily approachable under this method and to that extent
     the data may prove inadequate.
  4) This method is relatively more-time-consuming, specially when the sample is large and
     recalls upon the respondents are necessary.
  5) The presence of the interviewer on the spot may over-stimulate the respondent,
     sometimes even to the extent that he may give imaginary information just to make the
     interview interesting.
  6) Under the interview method the organisation required for selecting, training and
     supervising the field-staff is more complex with formidable problems.
  7) Interviewing at times may also introduce systematic errors.
  8) Effective interview presupposes proper rapport with respondents that would facilitate
     free and frank responses. This is often a very difficult requirement.

                Pre-Requisites and Basic Tenets of Interviewing

      For successful implementation of the interview method, interviewers should be
       carefully selected, trained and briefed. They should be honest, sincere, hardworking,
       impartial and must possess the technical competence and necessary practical
       experience.
      Occasional field checks should be made to ensure that interviewers are neither
       cheating, nor deviating from instructions given to them for performing their job
       efficiently.
      In addition, some provision should also be made in advance so that appropriate action
       may be taken if some of the selected respondents refuse to cooperate or are not
       available when an interviewer calls upon them.
      In fact, interviewing is an art governed by certain scientific principles. Every effort
       should be made to create friendly atmosphere of trust and confidence, so that
       respondents may feel at ease while talking to and discussing with the interviewer.
      The interviewer must ask questions properly and intelligently and must record the
       responses accurately and completely. At the same time, the interviewer must answer
       legitimate question(s), if any, asked by the respondent and must clear any doubt that
       the latter has.
      The interviewers approach must be friendly, courteous, conversational and unbiased.
                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
       3                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
      The interviewer should not show surprise or disapproval of a respondent’s answer but
       he must keep the direction of interview in his own hand, discouraging irrelevant
       conversation and must make all possible effort to keep the respondent on the track.

                                 TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS:
This method of collecting information consists in contacting respondents on telephone itself.
It is not a very widely used method, but plays important part in industrial surveys,
particularly in developed regions.

  Merits
The chief merits of such a system are:
  1) It is more flexible in comparison to mailing method.
  2) It is faster than other methods i.e., a quick way of obtaining information.
  3) It is cheaper than personal interviewing method; here the cost per response is
      relatively low.
  4) Recall is easy; callbacks are simple and economical.
  5) There is a higher rate of response than what we have in mailing method; the non-
      response is generally very low.
  6) Replies can be recorded without causing embarrassment to respondents.
  7) Interviewer can explain requirements more easily.
  8) At times, access can be gained to respondents who otherwise cannot be contacted for
      one reason or the other.
  9) No field staff is required.
  10)        Representative and wider distribution of sample is possible.

Demerits
This system of collecting information is not free from demerits. Some of these may be
highlighted.

   1) Little time is given to respondents for considered answers; interview period is not likely
      to exceed five minutes in most cases.
   2) Surveys are restricted to respondents who have telephone facilities.
   3) Extensive geographical coverage may get restricted by cost considerations.
   4) It is not suitable for intensive surveys where comprehensive answers are required to
      various questions.
5) Possibility of the bias of the interviewer is relatively more.
6) Questions have to be short and to the point; probes are difficult to handle.




                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
       4                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
COLLECTION OF DATA THROUGH QUESTIONNAIRES

This method of data collection is quite popular, particularly in case of big enquiries. It is
being adopted by private individuals, research workers, private and public organisations and
even by governments.

In this method a questionnaire is sent (usually by post) to the persons concerned with a
request to answer the questions and return the questionnaire. A questionnaire consists of a
number of questions printed or typed in a definite order on a form or set of forms. The
questionnaire is mailed to respondents who are expected to read and understand the
questions and write down the reply in the space meant for the purpose in the questionnaire
itself. The respondents have to answer the questions on their own.

The method of collecting data by mailing the questionnaires to respondents is most
extensively employed in various economic and business surveys.

Merits
The merits claimed on behalf of this method are as follows:
  1) There is low cost even when the universe is large and is widely spread geographically.
  2) It is free from the bias of the interviewer; answers are in respondents’ own words.
  3) Respondents have adequate time to give well thought out answers.
  4) Respondents, who are not easily approachable, can also be reached conveniently.
  5) Large samples can be made use of and thus the results can be made more dependable
     and reliable.

Demerits
The main demerits of this system can also be listed here:
  1) Low rate of return of the duly filled in questionnaires; bias due to no-response is often
     indeterminate.
  2) It can be used only when respondents are educated and cooperating.
  3) The control over questionnaire may be lost once it is sent.
  4) There is inbuilt inflexibility because of the difficulty of amending the approach once
     questionnaires have been despatched.
  5) There is also the possibility of ambiguous replies or omission of replies altogether to
     certain questions; interpretation of omissions is difficult.
  6) It is difficult to know whether willing respondents are truly representative.
  7) This method is likely to be the slowest of all.

Before using this method, it is always advisable to conduct ‘pilot study’ (Pilot Survey) for
testing the questionnaires. In a big enquiry the significance of pilot survey is felt very much.
Pilot survey is infact the replica and rehearsal of the main survey. Such a survey, being
conducted by experts, brings to the light the weaknesses (if any) of the questionnaires and

                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      5                                             Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                           [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
also of the survey techniques. From the experience gained in this way, improvement can be
effected.

                           Main Aspects of a Questionnaire

Quite often questionnaire is considered as the heart of a survey operation. Hence it should
be very carefully constructed. If it is not properly set up, then the survey is bound to fail.
This fact requires us to study the main aspects of a questionnaire viz., the general form,
question sequence and question formulation and wording. Researcher should note the
following with regard to these three main aspects of a questionnaire:

1. General form:
So far as the general form of a questionnaire is concerned, it can either be structured or
unstructured questionnaire. Structured questionnaires are those questionnaires in which
there are definite, concrete and pre-determined questions. The questions are presented with
exactly the same wording and in the same order to all respondents. Resort is taken to this
sort of standardization to ensure that all respondents reply to the same set of questions.

The form of the question may be either closed (i.e., of the type ‘yes’ or ‘no’) or open (i.e.,
inviting free response) but should be stated in advance and not constructed during
questioning. Structured questionnaires may also have fixed alternative questions in which
responses of the informants are limited to the stated alternatives. Thus a highly structured
questionnaire is one in which all questions and answers are specified and comments n the
respondent’s own words are held to the minimum.

When these characteristics are not present in a questionnaire, it can be termed as
unstructured or non-structured questionnaire. More specifically, we can say that in an
unstructured questionnaire, the interviewer is provided with a general guide on the type of
information to be obtained, but the exact question formulation is largely his own
responsibility and the replies are to be taken down in the respondent’s own words to the
extent possible; in some situations tape recorders may be used to achieve this goal.

2. Question sequence:
In order to make the questionnaire effective and to ensure quality to the replies received, a
researcher should pay attention to the question-sequence in preparing the questionnaire. A
proper sequence of questions reduces considerably the chances of individual questions being
misunderstood.

The question-sequence must be clear and smoothly-moving, meaning thereby that the
relation of one question to another should be readily apparent to the respondent, with
questions that are easiest to answer being put in the beginning. The first few questions are
particularly important because they are likely to influence the attitude of the respondent and
in seeking his desired cooperation. The opening questions should be such as to arouse
human interest. The following type of questions should generally be avoided as opening
questions in a questionnaire:
       1. questions that put too great a strain on the memory or intellect of the respondent;
                     Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      6                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                     SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                           [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
      2. questions of a personal character;
      3. questions related to personal wealth, etc.

3. Question formulation and wording:
With regard to this aspect of questionnaire, the researcher should note that each question
must be very clear for any sort of misunderstanding can do irreparable harm to a survey.
Question should also be impartial in order not to give a biased picture of the true state of
affairs. Questions should be constructed with a view to their forming a logical part of a well
thought out tabulation plan.
In general, all questions should meet the following standards—
       (a) should be easily understood;
       (b) should be simple i.e., should convey only one thought at a time;
       (c) should be concrete and should conform as much as possible to the respondent’s
       way of thinking.
For instance, instead of asking. “How many razor blades do you use annually?” The more
realistic question would be to ask, “How many razor blades did you use last week?”

                         Essentials of a good questionnaire
To be successful, questionnaire should be comparatively short and simple i.e., the size of the
questionnaire should be kept to the minimum.
    Questions should proceed in logical sequence moving from easy to more difficult
      questions.
    Personal and intimate questions should be left to the end.
    Technical terms and vague expressions capable of different interpretations should be
      avoided in a questionnaire.
    Questions may be dichotomous (yes or no answers), multiple choice (alternative
      answers listed) or open-ended.
    The latter type of questions are often difficult to analyse and hence should be avoided
      in a questionnaire to the extent possible.
    There should be some control questions in the questionnaire which indicate the
      reliability of the respondent.
    Questions affecting the sentiments of respondents should be avoided.
    Adequate space for answers should be provided in the questionnaire to help editing
      and tabulation.
    There should always be provision for indications of uncertainty, e.g., “do not know,”
      “no preference” and so on.
    Brief directions with regard to filling up the questionnaire should invariably be given in
      the questionnaire itself.
    Finally, the physical appearance of the questionnaire affects the cooperation the
      researcher receives from the recipients and as such an attractive looking
      questionnaire, particularly in mail surveys, is a plus point for enlisting cooperation.
    The quality of the paper, along with its colour, must be good so that it may attract the
      attention of recipients.



                     Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      7                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                     SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                           [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]

                      Collection of Data Through Schedules
     This method of data collection is very much like the collection of data through
      questionnaire, with little difference which lies in the fact that schedules (proforma
      containing a set of questions) are being filled in by the enumerators who are specially
      appointed for the purpose.
     These enumerators along with schedules, go to respondents, put to them the questions
      from the proforma in the order the questions are listed and record the replies in the
      space meant for the same in the proforma.
     In certain situations, schedules may be handed over to respondents and enumerators
      may help them in recording their answers to various questions in the said schedules.
      Enumerators explain the aims and objects of the investigation and also remove the
      difficulties which any respondent may feel in understanding the implications of a
      particular question or the definition or concept of difficult terms.
     This method requires the selection of enumerators for filling up schedules or assisting
      respondents to fill up schedules and as such enumerators should be very carefully
      selected.
     The enumerators should be trained to perform their job well and the nature and scope
      of the investigation should be explained to them thoroughly so that they may well
      understand the implications of different questions put in the schedule.
     Enumerators should be intelligent and must possess the capacity of cross examination
      in order to find out the truth. Above all, they should be honest, sincere, hardworking
      and should have patience and perseverance.
     This method of data collection is very useful in extensive enquiries and can lead to
      fairly reliable results.
     It is, however, very expensive and is usually adopted in investigations conducted by
      governmental agencies or by some big organisations.
     Population census all over the world is conducted through this method.

              Difference Between Questionnaires And Schedules
Both questionnaire and schedule are popularly used methods of collecting data in research
surveys. There is much resemblance in the nature of these two methods and this fact has
made many people to remark that from a practical point of view, the two methods can be
taken to be the same. But from the technical point of view there is difference between the
two. The important points of difference are as under:
               Questionnaire                                                    Schedule
 The questionnaire is generally sent through The schedule is generally filled out by the
 mail to informants to be answered as research worker or the enumerator, who
 specified in a covering letter, but otherwise can interpret questions when necessary.
 without further assistance from the sender.




                     Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      8                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                     SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                         [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]

To collect data through questionnaire is                To collect data through schedules is
relatively cheap and economical since we                relatively    more      expensive      since
have to spend money only in preparing the               considerable amount of money has to be
questionnaire and in mailing the same to                spent in appointing enumerators and in
respondents. Here no field staff required.              importing training to them. Money is also
                                                        spent in preparing schedules.
Non-response is usually high in case of                 Non-response is generally very low in case
questionnaire as many people do not                     of schedules because these are filled by
respond and many return the questionnaire               enumerators who are able to get answers
without answering all questions. Bias due to            to all questions. But there remains the
non-response often remains indeterminate.               danger of interviewer bias and cheating.
In case of questionnaire, it is not always              In case of schedule the identity of
clear as to who replies.                                respondent is known.
The questionnaire method is likely to be very           In case of schedules the information is
slow since many respondents do not return               collected well in time as they are filled in
the questionnaire in time despite several               by enumerators.
reminders.
Personal contact is generally not possible in           But in case of schedules direct personal
case of the questionnaire method as                     contact is established with respondents.
questionnaires are sent to respondents by
post who also in turn return the same by
post.
Questionnaire method can be used only                    In case of schedules the information can
when     respondents     are   literate  and            be gathered even when the respondents
cooperative.                                            happen to be illiterate.
Wider and more representative distribution              In respect of schedules there usually
of    sample    is    possible   under    the           remains     the    difficulty in   sending
questionnaire                                           enumerators over a relatively wider area.
Method.
Risk of collecting incomplete and wrong                 In case of schedules, the information
information is relatively more under the                collected is generally complete and
questionnaire method, particularly when                 accurate as enumerators can remove the
people are unable to understand questions               difficulties, if any, faced by respondents in
properly.                                               correctly understanding the questions. As
                                                        a result, the information collected through
                                                        schedules is relatively more accurate than
                                                        that obtained through questionnaires.
The success of questionnaire method lies                In the case of schedules, success much
more on the quality of the questionnaire                depends       upon      the    honesty   and
itself.                                                 competence of enumerators.
In order to attract the attention of                    The physical appearance of questionnaire
respondents, the physical appearance of                 must not be attractive in case of schedules
questionnaire must be quite attractive.                 as they are to be filled in by enumerators
                                                        and not by respondents.


                   Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
    9                                            Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                   SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                               [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
COLLECTION OF SECONDARY DATA

Secondary data means data that are already available i.e., they refer to the data which have
already been collected and analysed by someone else. When the researcher utilises
secondary data, then he has to look into various sources from where he can obtain them. In
this case he is certainly not confronted with the problems that are usually associated with
the collection of original data. Secondary data may either be published data or unpublished
data.

Usually published data are available in:
   various publications of the central, state are local governments;
   various publications of foreign governments or of international bodies and their
     subsidiary organisations; technical and tradejournals;
   books, magazines and newspapers;
   reports and publications of various associations connected with business and
     industry, banks, stock exchanges, etc.;
   reports prepared by research scholars, universities, economists, etc. in different fields;
     and
   public records and statistics, historical documents, and other sources of published
     information.
   The sources of unpublished data are many; they may be found in diaries, letters,
     unpublished biographies and autobiographies and also may be available with scholars
     and research workers, trade associations, labour bureaus and other public/ private
     individuals and organisations.

Researcher must be very careful in using secondary data. He must make a minute scrutiny
because it is just possible that the secondary data may be unsuitable or may be inadequate
in the context of the problem which the researcher wants to study. In this connection Dr.
A.L. Bowley very aptly observes that it is never safe to take published statistics at their face
value without knowing their meaning and limitations and it is always necessary to criticise
arguments that can be based on them.

By way of caution, the researcher, before using secondary data, must see that they possess
following characteristics:

     i.      Reliability of data:
          The reliability can be tested by finding out such things about the said data: (a) Who
          collected the data? (b) What were the sources of data? (c) Were they collected by using
          proper methods (d) At what time were they collected?(e) Was there any bias of the
          compiler? (t) What level of accuracy was desired? Was it achieved ?

    ii.      Suitability of data:
          The data that are suitable for one enquiry may not necessarily be found suitable in
          another enquiry. Hence, if the available data are found to be unsuitable, they should
          not be used by the researcher. In this context, the researcher must very carefully
          scrutinise the definition of various terms and units of collection used at the time of
                         Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
    10                                                 Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                         SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                               [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
          collecting the data from the primary source originally. Similarly, the object, scope and
          nature of the original enquiry must also be studied. If the researcher finds differences
          in these, the data will remain unsuitable for the present enquiry and should not be
          used.

   iii.       Adequacy of data:
          If the level of accuracy achieved in data is found inadequate for the purpose of the
          present enquiry, they will be considered as inadequate and should not be used by the
          researcher. The data will also be considered inadequate, if they are related to an area
          which may be either narrower or wider than the area of the present enquiry.

From all this we can say that it is very risky to use the already available data. The already
available data should be used by the researcher only when he finds them reliable, suitable
and adequate. But he should not blindly discard the use of such data if they are readily
available from authentic sources and are also suitable and adequate for in that case it will
not be economical to spend time and energy in field surveys for collecting information. At
times, there may be wealth of usable information in the already available data which must be
used by an intelligent researcher but with due precaution.

                              Advantages of Secondary Data

The following are the chief merits of secondary data:
  1. Economical/Less Costly
      A major advantage of secondary data is that it is far more economical as the cost of
      collecting original data is saved. In the collection of primary data, a good deal of effort
      is required, like filling of questionnaire, classification, tabulation etc. But these efforts
      are not required in collection of secondary data
  2. Saves Time
      Secondary data saves much time of the researcher. This leads to prompt completion of
      the research project.
  3. Identify the Research Problem
      The review of secondary data helps to properly and correctly identify the research
      problem. Example, Researcher goes for intense literature review which is a secondary
      data, to formulate the research problem.
  4. Improved Understanding of Research Problem
      Secondary Data not only helps in formulating research problem, but it may also help
      in understanding and interpreting the research problem deeply and clearly.
  5. Formulate an appropriate Research Design
      Past researches can be taken as a base for the current research and the guidelines can
      be taken from it which will help the research to formulate an appropriate research
      design.
  6. Answer Certain Research Question
      Past data can answer certain basic research questions of the researchers, which will
      make his base clear for the forthcoming research.
  7. Helps in Formulating Hypothesis

                         Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
    11                                                 Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                         SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
      Secondary data can be used for formulating the current hypothesis of the research
      project. It will also guide for use of proper tools to be used to test the hypothesis.
   8. Framing Sample Size and Collecting Primary Data
      Secondary data is useful in framing primary data collection programme, as well as
      framing the sample or determining the sizes of sample.
   9. Compared with Primary Data
      Primary data and secondary data can be compared to test the reliability of the primary
      data. Data becomes reliable and fit to use after being compared with secondary data.
  10. Useful for Conclusive research
      Secondary data is useful for compression purposes in conclusive research.

                             Limitations of Secondary Data
The following are the major limitations of secondary data
  1. Difference in Unit of Expression
      The unit in which secondary data are expressed may not be same as is required in the
      research project. For Example, the size of the firm can be expressed in number of
      employees, paid up capital, gross sales, gross and net profit. It is just possible that the
      unit of measurement used in secondary data is different from the one needed in the
      research project. In such a case, secondary data cannot be used.
  2. Difference of Class Boundaries
      Even if the units are expressed in the same units as that required by the research
      projects, it may just be the case that class boundaries are different from those desired.
      For example the monthly income of households may have a break up of (i) Less than 5
      Lakhs, (ii) 5 – 10 Lakhs, (iii) 10 – 15 Lakhs, (iv) 15 Lakhs and above so far as
      secondary data are concerned. If the researcher wants to find out number of
      households with an income of 18 Lakhs or similar figure, he will be at a loss with such
      secondary data.
  3. Inappropriate Method Used
      The secondary data may be collected, classified or tabulated wrongly or the tools used
      may not be appropriate.
  4. Less Accurate
      One does not always know how accurate the secondary data are. In case the degree of
      inaccuracy is high, the use of such dubious data would undermine the utility of a
      research study.
  5. Out Dated
      A severe limitation in the use of secondary data is that they may be somewhat out-of-
      date. A good deal of time is spent in collection, processing, tabulation and publishing
      of such data and by the time the data are available to the researcher, they are already
      two or three years old. As a result the data are no longer up-to-the-date.
  6. Needs Caution While Use
      The secondary data is collected by someone else for some other objectives. Thus, while
      using secondary data, its fitness for use must be verified and then it must be used
      carefully.



                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
    12                                              Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                             [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
     7. It May Be Irrelevant
        The secondary data used may not be related at all to the current research project and
        the results of the current research due to use of such data may be misleading.
     8. It May Not Be Qualitative
        The secondary data may lack quality. It may be improper to use such data which is not
        qualitative.
     9. Unreliable/Undependable
       The secondary data may be unreliable in the sense that a researcher should not blindly
       rely/depend on such data only, or else the results of research may be disastrous.

                              Classification of Secondary Data
The secondary data may be classified either as, Published or unpublished data and Internal
or External Secondary data.

A) Published or Unpublished Data

     1. Published Data or External Data
        There are a number of national and international organizations which collect and
        publish statistical data in their reports. Some of popular organizations are: Central
        Statistical Organization (CSO), National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO),
        Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), United Nation
        Organization (UNO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) etc.
        In addition to that published data can also be taken from various Annual reports of
        companies, books, magazines, journals, periodicals, newspapers, etc

     2. Unpublished Data or Internal Data
        All secondary data may not be published. A major source of data is produced by
        government, semi-government, public and private sector organizations are based on
        the data drawn from internal records. This data is based on internal records provides
        authentic data and is much cheaper as compared to primary data. Some examples of
        internal records includes employees’ payroll, the amount of raw materials, cash book
        etc. it may be noted that unpublished and internal data are very difficult to obtain.

                                 Sources of Secondary Data
Secondary data can be obtained internally, i.e within the firm; or externally. i.e from one or
more outside agencies.

1.     Internal Sources of Secondary Data
       Internal sources can be classified in following four broad categories:



                       Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
      13                                             Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                       SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
         Accounting Records: Accounting Records like Annual Reports, Sales, Invoices,
          Name and Address of customers etc can be used for a detailed analysis. Compared
          with the corresponding data on costs, it can indicate the level of profits or loss for
          each product.
         Sales Force Reports: This source can provide a very useful marketing information
          but home how it is not used popularly. This is because sales force may not give
          detailed report.
         Executive/Expert Reports: Experts working in the company can be good source of
          internal data. Executives working as finance, marketing, production managers etc
          have specialized knowledge.
         Miscellaneous Reports: Any other surveys done by the company earlier, audit
          report, corporate governance report etc may be used for collection of secondary
          data.

2.   External Sources of Secondary Data
      The external secondary data do not originate in the firm and are obtained from the
       outside agencies or sources.
      It may be noted that secondary data can be collected from the originating darta or
       from secondary sources.
      External sources of data are many and are discussed in detail in forthcoming
       discussions.

3.   Government Publications
     A large bulk of secondary data useful to a researcher is found in the form of various
     government reports. The following is a glimpse of Government publications:

         Registrar General of India conducts population census throughout the country
          every 10 years and brings out demographic data in voluminous reports.
         Central Statistical Organization (CSO) brings out statistics of National Income. It
          also publishes estimates of saving, investment, capital formation, agriculture,
          Industry, trade etc.
         The Director General of Commercial Intelligence, Government of India, brings out
          monthly statistics of the foreign trade in India.
         The Economic Advisor, Ministry of Commerce and Industry published the Wholesale
          Price Index Numbers, an important data for decision making.
         The National Sample Survey Organization was also set up by Government of India
          to collect data on social, demographic, industrial and agricultural statistics. The
          NSSO conducts multipurpose socio-economic surveys in India and publishes its
          data.
         Some other official publications include:

                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
     14                                             Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
Unit – 3: Data Collection
                                            [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]
             o Basic statistics relating to Indian Economy published by Planning
               Commission.
             o Reserve Bank of India Bulletin
             o Currency and Finance Report of RBI
             o The Economic Survey, by the Department of Exconomic Affairs, Ministry of
               Finance.
             o Agricultural Situation in India, Ministry of Agriculture.
             o The Indian Labour Journal, Labour Bureau.

4.   Non-Government Publications
     There are a number of other agencies which regularly publish secondary data. A few of
     them have been listed below:

         Indian Cotton Mills Federation brings out statistics on cotton textile industry.
         BSE and NSE          Directory contains information on financial accounts, key
          profitability and other data of listed joint stock companies.
         FICCI, Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India etc brings out
          memoranda dealing with a specific industry and its problems.
         Agencies like Cottage Industry Board, Tea Board, and Handicraft Board etc provide
          specific information in respect of their own product categories.

5.   Syndicated services
     Syndicated services are provided by certain organizations, which collect and tabulate
     information on a continuing basis. Reports are based on information collected by such
     organizations and are sent periodically to clients or subscribers. Syndicated services
     are normally designed to suit the requirements of many individuals or firms.

6.   Publications of International Organizations
     Some international agencies which provide valuable statistical data on a variety of
     socio-economic problems and political events are:

         United Nations Organizations (UNO)
         World Health Organization (WHO)
         International Labour Organization (ILO)
         International Monetary Fund (IMF)
         World Bank
         UNESCO
         UNICEF
         World Trade Organization (WTO)



                      Prepared By: Anuj   Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)]
     15                                             Contact: (M) 9898251471            E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com
                                      SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)

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Data collection m.com final

  • 1. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] The task of data collection begins after a research problem has been defined and research design/ plan chalked out. While deciding about the method of data collection to be used for the study, the researcher should keep in mind two types of data viz., primary and secondary. The primary data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time, and thus happen to be original in character. The secondary data, on the other hand, are those which have already been collected by someone else and which have already been passed through the statistical process. The researcher would have to decide which sort of data he would be using (thus collecting) for his study and accordingly he will have to select one or the other method of data collection. The methods of collecting primary and secondary data differ since primary data are to be originally collected, while in case of secondary data the nature of data collection work is merely that of compilation. We describe the different methods of data collection, with the pros and cons of each method. COLLECTION OF PRIMARY DATA We collect primary data during the course of doing experiments in an experimental research but in case we do research of the descriptive type and perform surveys, whether sample surveys or census surveys, then we can obtain primary data either through observation or through direct communication with respondents in one form or another or through personal interviews.* This, in other words, means that there are several methods of collecting primary data, particularly in surveys and descriptive researches. Important ones are: (i) observation method, (ii) interview method, (iii) through questionnaires, (iv) through schedules, and (v) other methods which include (a) warranty cards; (b) distributor audits; (c) pantry audits; (d) consumer panels; (e) using mechanical devices; (f) through projective techniques; (g) depth interviews, and (h) content analysis. Interview Method The interview method of collecting data involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply in terms of oral-verbal responses. This method can be used through personal interviews and, if possible, through telephone interviews. PERSONAL INTERVIEWS Personal interview method requires a person known as the interviewer asking questions generally in a face-to-face contact to the other person or persons. (At times the interviewee may also ask certain questions and the interviewer responds to these, but usually the interviewer initiates the interview and collects the information.) This sort of interview may be in the form of direct personal investigation or it may be indirect oral investigation. In the case of direct personal investigation the interviewer has to collect the information personally from the sources concerned. He has to be on the spot and has to meet people from whom data have to be collected. The method of collecting information through personal interviews is usually carried out in a structured way. As such we call the interviews as structured interviews. Such interviews involve the use of a set of predetermined questions and of highly standardised techniques of Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 1 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 2. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] recording. Thus, the interviewer in a structured interview follows a rigid procedure laid down, asking questions in a form and order prescribed. As against it, the unstructured interviews are characterised by a flexibility of approach to questioning. Unstructured interviews do not follow a system of pre-determined questions and standardised techniques of recording information. In a non-structured interview, the interviewer is allowed much greater freedom to ask, in case of need, supplementary questions or at times he may omit certain questions if the situation so requires. He may even change the sequence of questions. He has relatively greater freedom while recording the responses to include some aspects and exclude others. But this sort of flexibility results in lack of comparability of one interview with another and the analysis of unstructured responses becomes much more difficult and time-consuming than that of the structured responses obtained in case of structured interviews. Unstructured interviews also demand deep knowledge and greater skill on the part of the interviewer. Advantages of Personal Interview The chief merits of the interview method are as follows: 1. More information and that too in greater depth can be obtained. 2. Interviewer by his own skill can overcome the resistance, if any, of the respondents; the interview method can be made to yield an almost perfect sample of the general population. 3. There is greater flexibility under this method as the opportunity to restructure questions is always there, specially in case of unstructured interviews. 4. Observation method can as well be applied to recording verbal answers to various questions. 5. Personal information can as well be obtained easily under this method. 6. Samples can be controlled more effectively as there arises no difficulty of the missing returns; non-response generally remains very low. 7. The interviewer can usually control which person(s) will answer the questions. This is not possible in mailed questionnaire approach. If so desired, group discussions may also be held. 8. The interviewer may catch the informant off-guard and thus may secure the most spontaneous reactions than would be the case if mailed questionnaire is used. 9. The language of the interview can be adopted to the ability or educational level of the person interviewed and as such misinterpretations concerning questions can be avoided. 10. The interviewer can collect supplementary information about the respondent’s personal characteristics and environment which is often of great value in interpreting results. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 2 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 3. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] Limitations of Personal Interview But there are also certain weaknesses of the interview method. Among the important weaknesses, mention may be made of the following: 1) It is a very expensive method, specially when large and widely spread geographical sample is taken. 2) There remains the possibility of the bias of interviewer as well as that of the respondent; there also remains the headache of supervision and control of interviewers. 3) Certain types of respondents such as important officials or executives or people in high income groups may not be easily approachable under this method and to that extent the data may prove inadequate. 4) This method is relatively more-time-consuming, specially when the sample is large and recalls upon the respondents are necessary. 5) The presence of the interviewer on the spot may over-stimulate the respondent, sometimes even to the extent that he may give imaginary information just to make the interview interesting. 6) Under the interview method the organisation required for selecting, training and supervising the field-staff is more complex with formidable problems. 7) Interviewing at times may also introduce systematic errors. 8) Effective interview presupposes proper rapport with respondents that would facilitate free and frank responses. This is often a very difficult requirement. Pre-Requisites and Basic Tenets of Interviewing  For successful implementation of the interview method, interviewers should be carefully selected, trained and briefed. They should be honest, sincere, hardworking, impartial and must possess the technical competence and necessary practical experience.  Occasional field checks should be made to ensure that interviewers are neither cheating, nor deviating from instructions given to them for performing their job efficiently.  In addition, some provision should also be made in advance so that appropriate action may be taken if some of the selected respondents refuse to cooperate or are not available when an interviewer calls upon them.  In fact, interviewing is an art governed by certain scientific principles. Every effort should be made to create friendly atmosphere of trust and confidence, so that respondents may feel at ease while talking to and discussing with the interviewer.  The interviewer must ask questions properly and intelligently and must record the responses accurately and completely. At the same time, the interviewer must answer legitimate question(s), if any, asked by the respondent and must clear any doubt that the latter has.  The interviewers approach must be friendly, courteous, conversational and unbiased. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 3 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 4. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]  The interviewer should not show surprise or disapproval of a respondent’s answer but he must keep the direction of interview in his own hand, discouraging irrelevant conversation and must make all possible effort to keep the respondent on the track. TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS: This method of collecting information consists in contacting respondents on telephone itself. It is not a very widely used method, but plays important part in industrial surveys, particularly in developed regions. Merits The chief merits of such a system are: 1) It is more flexible in comparison to mailing method. 2) It is faster than other methods i.e., a quick way of obtaining information. 3) It is cheaper than personal interviewing method; here the cost per response is relatively low. 4) Recall is easy; callbacks are simple and economical. 5) There is a higher rate of response than what we have in mailing method; the non- response is generally very low. 6) Replies can be recorded without causing embarrassment to respondents. 7) Interviewer can explain requirements more easily. 8) At times, access can be gained to respondents who otherwise cannot be contacted for one reason or the other. 9) No field staff is required. 10) Representative and wider distribution of sample is possible. Demerits This system of collecting information is not free from demerits. Some of these may be highlighted. 1) Little time is given to respondents for considered answers; interview period is not likely to exceed five minutes in most cases. 2) Surveys are restricted to respondents who have telephone facilities. 3) Extensive geographical coverage may get restricted by cost considerations. 4) It is not suitable for intensive surveys where comprehensive answers are required to various questions. 5) Possibility of the bias of the interviewer is relatively more. 6) Questions have to be short and to the point; probes are difficult to handle. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 4 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 5. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] COLLECTION OF DATA THROUGH QUESTIONNAIRES This method of data collection is quite popular, particularly in case of big enquiries. It is being adopted by private individuals, research workers, private and public organisations and even by governments. In this method a questionnaire is sent (usually by post) to the persons concerned with a request to answer the questions and return the questionnaire. A questionnaire consists of a number of questions printed or typed in a definite order on a form or set of forms. The questionnaire is mailed to respondents who are expected to read and understand the questions and write down the reply in the space meant for the purpose in the questionnaire itself. The respondents have to answer the questions on their own. The method of collecting data by mailing the questionnaires to respondents is most extensively employed in various economic and business surveys. Merits The merits claimed on behalf of this method are as follows: 1) There is low cost even when the universe is large and is widely spread geographically. 2) It is free from the bias of the interviewer; answers are in respondents’ own words. 3) Respondents have adequate time to give well thought out answers. 4) Respondents, who are not easily approachable, can also be reached conveniently. 5) Large samples can be made use of and thus the results can be made more dependable and reliable. Demerits The main demerits of this system can also be listed here: 1) Low rate of return of the duly filled in questionnaires; bias due to no-response is often indeterminate. 2) It can be used only when respondents are educated and cooperating. 3) The control over questionnaire may be lost once it is sent. 4) There is inbuilt inflexibility because of the difficulty of amending the approach once questionnaires have been despatched. 5) There is also the possibility of ambiguous replies or omission of replies altogether to certain questions; interpretation of omissions is difficult. 6) It is difficult to know whether willing respondents are truly representative. 7) This method is likely to be the slowest of all. Before using this method, it is always advisable to conduct ‘pilot study’ (Pilot Survey) for testing the questionnaires. In a big enquiry the significance of pilot survey is felt very much. Pilot survey is infact the replica and rehearsal of the main survey. Such a survey, being conducted by experts, brings to the light the weaknesses (if any) of the questionnaires and Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 5 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 6. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] also of the survey techniques. From the experience gained in this way, improvement can be effected. Main Aspects of a Questionnaire Quite often questionnaire is considered as the heart of a survey operation. Hence it should be very carefully constructed. If it is not properly set up, then the survey is bound to fail. This fact requires us to study the main aspects of a questionnaire viz., the general form, question sequence and question formulation and wording. Researcher should note the following with regard to these three main aspects of a questionnaire: 1. General form: So far as the general form of a questionnaire is concerned, it can either be structured or unstructured questionnaire. Structured questionnaires are those questionnaires in which there are definite, concrete and pre-determined questions. The questions are presented with exactly the same wording and in the same order to all respondents. Resort is taken to this sort of standardization to ensure that all respondents reply to the same set of questions. The form of the question may be either closed (i.e., of the type ‘yes’ or ‘no’) or open (i.e., inviting free response) but should be stated in advance and not constructed during questioning. Structured questionnaires may also have fixed alternative questions in which responses of the informants are limited to the stated alternatives. Thus a highly structured questionnaire is one in which all questions and answers are specified and comments n the respondent’s own words are held to the minimum. When these characteristics are not present in a questionnaire, it can be termed as unstructured or non-structured questionnaire. More specifically, we can say that in an unstructured questionnaire, the interviewer is provided with a general guide on the type of information to be obtained, but the exact question formulation is largely his own responsibility and the replies are to be taken down in the respondent’s own words to the extent possible; in some situations tape recorders may be used to achieve this goal. 2. Question sequence: In order to make the questionnaire effective and to ensure quality to the replies received, a researcher should pay attention to the question-sequence in preparing the questionnaire. A proper sequence of questions reduces considerably the chances of individual questions being misunderstood. The question-sequence must be clear and smoothly-moving, meaning thereby that the relation of one question to another should be readily apparent to the respondent, with questions that are easiest to answer being put in the beginning. The first few questions are particularly important because they are likely to influence the attitude of the respondent and in seeking his desired cooperation. The opening questions should be such as to arouse human interest. The following type of questions should generally be avoided as opening questions in a questionnaire: 1. questions that put too great a strain on the memory or intellect of the respondent; Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 6 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 7. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] 2. questions of a personal character; 3. questions related to personal wealth, etc. 3. Question formulation and wording: With regard to this aspect of questionnaire, the researcher should note that each question must be very clear for any sort of misunderstanding can do irreparable harm to a survey. Question should also be impartial in order not to give a biased picture of the true state of affairs. Questions should be constructed with a view to their forming a logical part of a well thought out tabulation plan. In general, all questions should meet the following standards— (a) should be easily understood; (b) should be simple i.e., should convey only one thought at a time; (c) should be concrete and should conform as much as possible to the respondent’s way of thinking. For instance, instead of asking. “How many razor blades do you use annually?” The more realistic question would be to ask, “How many razor blades did you use last week?” Essentials of a good questionnaire To be successful, questionnaire should be comparatively short and simple i.e., the size of the questionnaire should be kept to the minimum.  Questions should proceed in logical sequence moving from easy to more difficult questions.  Personal and intimate questions should be left to the end.  Technical terms and vague expressions capable of different interpretations should be avoided in a questionnaire.  Questions may be dichotomous (yes or no answers), multiple choice (alternative answers listed) or open-ended.  The latter type of questions are often difficult to analyse and hence should be avoided in a questionnaire to the extent possible.  There should be some control questions in the questionnaire which indicate the reliability of the respondent.  Questions affecting the sentiments of respondents should be avoided.  Adequate space for answers should be provided in the questionnaire to help editing and tabulation.  There should always be provision for indications of uncertainty, e.g., “do not know,” “no preference” and so on.  Brief directions with regard to filling up the questionnaire should invariably be given in the questionnaire itself.  Finally, the physical appearance of the questionnaire affects the cooperation the researcher receives from the recipients and as such an attractive looking questionnaire, particularly in mail surveys, is a plus point for enlisting cooperation.  The quality of the paper, along with its colour, must be good so that it may attract the attention of recipients. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 7 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 8. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] Collection of Data Through Schedules  This method of data collection is very much like the collection of data through questionnaire, with little difference which lies in the fact that schedules (proforma containing a set of questions) are being filled in by the enumerators who are specially appointed for the purpose.  These enumerators along with schedules, go to respondents, put to them the questions from the proforma in the order the questions are listed and record the replies in the space meant for the same in the proforma.  In certain situations, schedules may be handed over to respondents and enumerators may help them in recording their answers to various questions in the said schedules. Enumerators explain the aims and objects of the investigation and also remove the difficulties which any respondent may feel in understanding the implications of a particular question or the definition or concept of difficult terms.  This method requires the selection of enumerators for filling up schedules or assisting respondents to fill up schedules and as such enumerators should be very carefully selected.  The enumerators should be trained to perform their job well and the nature and scope of the investigation should be explained to them thoroughly so that they may well understand the implications of different questions put in the schedule.  Enumerators should be intelligent and must possess the capacity of cross examination in order to find out the truth. Above all, they should be honest, sincere, hardworking and should have patience and perseverance.  This method of data collection is very useful in extensive enquiries and can lead to fairly reliable results.  It is, however, very expensive and is usually adopted in investigations conducted by governmental agencies or by some big organisations.  Population census all over the world is conducted through this method. Difference Between Questionnaires And Schedules Both questionnaire and schedule are popularly used methods of collecting data in research surveys. There is much resemblance in the nature of these two methods and this fact has made many people to remark that from a practical point of view, the two methods can be taken to be the same. But from the technical point of view there is difference between the two. The important points of difference are as under: Questionnaire Schedule The questionnaire is generally sent through The schedule is generally filled out by the mail to informants to be answered as research worker or the enumerator, who specified in a covering letter, but otherwise can interpret questions when necessary. without further assistance from the sender. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 8 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 9. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] To collect data through questionnaire is To collect data through schedules is relatively cheap and economical since we relatively more expensive since have to spend money only in preparing the considerable amount of money has to be questionnaire and in mailing the same to spent in appointing enumerators and in respondents. Here no field staff required. importing training to them. Money is also spent in preparing schedules. Non-response is usually high in case of Non-response is generally very low in case questionnaire as many people do not of schedules because these are filled by respond and many return the questionnaire enumerators who are able to get answers without answering all questions. Bias due to to all questions. But there remains the non-response often remains indeterminate. danger of interviewer bias and cheating. In case of questionnaire, it is not always In case of schedule the identity of clear as to who replies. respondent is known. The questionnaire method is likely to be very In case of schedules the information is slow since many respondents do not return collected well in time as they are filled in the questionnaire in time despite several by enumerators. reminders. Personal contact is generally not possible in But in case of schedules direct personal case of the questionnaire method as contact is established with respondents. questionnaires are sent to respondents by post who also in turn return the same by post. Questionnaire method can be used only In case of schedules the information can when respondents are literate and be gathered even when the respondents cooperative. happen to be illiterate. Wider and more representative distribution In respect of schedules there usually of sample is possible under the remains the difficulty in sending questionnaire enumerators over a relatively wider area. Method. Risk of collecting incomplete and wrong In case of schedules, the information information is relatively more under the collected is generally complete and questionnaire method, particularly when accurate as enumerators can remove the people are unable to understand questions difficulties, if any, faced by respondents in properly. correctly understanding the questions. As a result, the information collected through schedules is relatively more accurate than that obtained through questionnaires. The success of questionnaire method lies In the case of schedules, success much more on the quality of the questionnaire depends upon the honesty and itself. competence of enumerators. In order to attract the attention of The physical appearance of questionnaire respondents, the physical appearance of must not be attractive in case of schedules questionnaire must be quite attractive. as they are to be filled in by enumerators and not by respondents. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 9 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 10. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] COLLECTION OF SECONDARY DATA Secondary data means data that are already available i.e., they refer to the data which have already been collected and analysed by someone else. When the researcher utilises secondary data, then he has to look into various sources from where he can obtain them. In this case he is certainly not confronted with the problems that are usually associated with the collection of original data. Secondary data may either be published data or unpublished data. Usually published data are available in:  various publications of the central, state are local governments;  various publications of foreign governments or of international bodies and their subsidiary organisations; technical and tradejournals;  books, magazines and newspapers;  reports and publications of various associations connected with business and industry, banks, stock exchanges, etc.;  reports prepared by research scholars, universities, economists, etc. in different fields; and  public records and statistics, historical documents, and other sources of published information.  The sources of unpublished data are many; they may be found in diaries, letters, unpublished biographies and autobiographies and also may be available with scholars and research workers, trade associations, labour bureaus and other public/ private individuals and organisations. Researcher must be very careful in using secondary data. He must make a minute scrutiny because it is just possible that the secondary data may be unsuitable or may be inadequate in the context of the problem which the researcher wants to study. In this connection Dr. A.L. Bowley very aptly observes that it is never safe to take published statistics at their face value without knowing their meaning and limitations and it is always necessary to criticise arguments that can be based on them. By way of caution, the researcher, before using secondary data, must see that they possess following characteristics: i. Reliability of data: The reliability can be tested by finding out such things about the said data: (a) Who collected the data? (b) What were the sources of data? (c) Were they collected by using proper methods (d) At what time were they collected?(e) Was there any bias of the compiler? (t) What level of accuracy was desired? Was it achieved ? ii. Suitability of data: The data that are suitable for one enquiry may not necessarily be found suitable in another enquiry. Hence, if the available data are found to be unsuitable, they should not be used by the researcher. In this context, the researcher must very carefully scrutinise the definition of various terms and units of collection used at the time of Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 10 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 11. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] collecting the data from the primary source originally. Similarly, the object, scope and nature of the original enquiry must also be studied. If the researcher finds differences in these, the data will remain unsuitable for the present enquiry and should not be used. iii. Adequacy of data: If the level of accuracy achieved in data is found inadequate for the purpose of the present enquiry, they will be considered as inadequate and should not be used by the researcher. The data will also be considered inadequate, if they are related to an area which may be either narrower or wider than the area of the present enquiry. From all this we can say that it is very risky to use the already available data. The already available data should be used by the researcher only when he finds them reliable, suitable and adequate. But he should not blindly discard the use of such data if they are readily available from authentic sources and are also suitable and adequate for in that case it will not be economical to spend time and energy in field surveys for collecting information. At times, there may be wealth of usable information in the already available data which must be used by an intelligent researcher but with due precaution. Advantages of Secondary Data The following are the chief merits of secondary data: 1. Economical/Less Costly A major advantage of secondary data is that it is far more economical as the cost of collecting original data is saved. In the collection of primary data, a good deal of effort is required, like filling of questionnaire, classification, tabulation etc. But these efforts are not required in collection of secondary data 2. Saves Time Secondary data saves much time of the researcher. This leads to prompt completion of the research project. 3. Identify the Research Problem The review of secondary data helps to properly and correctly identify the research problem. Example, Researcher goes for intense literature review which is a secondary data, to formulate the research problem. 4. Improved Understanding of Research Problem Secondary Data not only helps in formulating research problem, but it may also help in understanding and interpreting the research problem deeply and clearly. 5. Formulate an appropriate Research Design Past researches can be taken as a base for the current research and the guidelines can be taken from it which will help the research to formulate an appropriate research design. 6. Answer Certain Research Question Past data can answer certain basic research questions of the researchers, which will make his base clear for the forthcoming research. 7. Helps in Formulating Hypothesis Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 11 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 12. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] Secondary data can be used for formulating the current hypothesis of the research project. It will also guide for use of proper tools to be used to test the hypothesis. 8. Framing Sample Size and Collecting Primary Data Secondary data is useful in framing primary data collection programme, as well as framing the sample or determining the sizes of sample. 9. Compared with Primary Data Primary data and secondary data can be compared to test the reliability of the primary data. Data becomes reliable and fit to use after being compared with secondary data. 10. Useful for Conclusive research Secondary data is useful for compression purposes in conclusive research. Limitations of Secondary Data The following are the major limitations of secondary data 1. Difference in Unit of Expression The unit in which secondary data are expressed may not be same as is required in the research project. For Example, the size of the firm can be expressed in number of employees, paid up capital, gross sales, gross and net profit. It is just possible that the unit of measurement used in secondary data is different from the one needed in the research project. In such a case, secondary data cannot be used. 2. Difference of Class Boundaries Even if the units are expressed in the same units as that required by the research projects, it may just be the case that class boundaries are different from those desired. For example the monthly income of households may have a break up of (i) Less than 5 Lakhs, (ii) 5 – 10 Lakhs, (iii) 10 – 15 Lakhs, (iv) 15 Lakhs and above so far as secondary data are concerned. If the researcher wants to find out number of households with an income of 18 Lakhs or similar figure, he will be at a loss with such secondary data. 3. Inappropriate Method Used The secondary data may be collected, classified or tabulated wrongly or the tools used may not be appropriate. 4. Less Accurate One does not always know how accurate the secondary data are. In case the degree of inaccuracy is high, the use of such dubious data would undermine the utility of a research study. 5. Out Dated A severe limitation in the use of secondary data is that they may be somewhat out-of- date. A good deal of time is spent in collection, processing, tabulation and publishing of such data and by the time the data are available to the researcher, they are already two or three years old. As a result the data are no longer up-to-the-date. 6. Needs Caution While Use The secondary data is collected by someone else for some other objectives. Thus, while using secondary data, its fitness for use must be verified and then it must be used carefully. Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 12 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 13. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] 7. It May Be Irrelevant The secondary data used may not be related at all to the current research project and the results of the current research due to use of such data may be misleading. 8. It May Not Be Qualitative The secondary data may lack quality. It may be improper to use such data which is not qualitative. 9. Unreliable/Undependable The secondary data may be unreliable in the sense that a researcher should not blindly rely/depend on such data only, or else the results of research may be disastrous. Classification of Secondary Data The secondary data may be classified either as, Published or unpublished data and Internal or External Secondary data. A) Published or Unpublished Data 1. Published Data or External Data There are a number of national and international organizations which collect and publish statistical data in their reports. Some of popular organizations are: Central Statistical Organization (CSO), National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), United Nation Organization (UNO), International Monetary Fund (IMF) etc. In addition to that published data can also be taken from various Annual reports of companies, books, magazines, journals, periodicals, newspapers, etc 2. Unpublished Data or Internal Data All secondary data may not be published. A major source of data is produced by government, semi-government, public and private sector organizations are based on the data drawn from internal records. This data is based on internal records provides authentic data and is much cheaper as compared to primary data. Some examples of internal records includes employees’ payroll, the amount of raw materials, cash book etc. it may be noted that unpublished and internal data are very difficult to obtain. Sources of Secondary Data Secondary data can be obtained internally, i.e within the firm; or externally. i.e from one or more outside agencies. 1. Internal Sources of Secondary Data Internal sources can be classified in following four broad categories: Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 13 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 14. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester]  Accounting Records: Accounting Records like Annual Reports, Sales, Invoices, Name and Address of customers etc can be used for a detailed analysis. Compared with the corresponding data on costs, it can indicate the level of profits or loss for each product.  Sales Force Reports: This source can provide a very useful marketing information but home how it is not used popularly. This is because sales force may not give detailed report.  Executive/Expert Reports: Experts working in the company can be good source of internal data. Executives working as finance, marketing, production managers etc have specialized knowledge.  Miscellaneous Reports: Any other surveys done by the company earlier, audit report, corporate governance report etc may be used for collection of secondary data. 2. External Sources of Secondary Data  The external secondary data do not originate in the firm and are obtained from the outside agencies or sources.  It may be noted that secondary data can be collected from the originating darta or from secondary sources.  External sources of data are many and are discussed in detail in forthcoming discussions. 3. Government Publications A large bulk of secondary data useful to a researcher is found in the form of various government reports. The following is a glimpse of Government publications:  Registrar General of India conducts population census throughout the country every 10 years and brings out demographic data in voluminous reports.  Central Statistical Organization (CSO) brings out statistics of National Income. It also publishes estimates of saving, investment, capital formation, agriculture, Industry, trade etc.  The Director General of Commercial Intelligence, Government of India, brings out monthly statistics of the foreign trade in India.  The Economic Advisor, Ministry of Commerce and Industry published the Wholesale Price Index Numbers, an important data for decision making.  The National Sample Survey Organization was also set up by Government of India to collect data on social, demographic, industrial and agricultural statistics. The NSSO conducts multipurpose socio-economic surveys in India and publishes its data.  Some other official publications include: Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 14 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)
  • 15. Unit – 3: Data Collection [Research Methodology, M.Com 3rd Semester] o Basic statistics relating to Indian Economy published by Planning Commission. o Reserve Bank of India Bulletin o Currency and Finance Report of RBI o The Economic Survey, by the Department of Exconomic Affairs, Ministry of Finance. o Agricultural Situation in India, Ministry of Agriculture. o The Indian Labour Journal, Labour Bureau. 4. Non-Government Publications There are a number of other agencies which regularly publish secondary data. A few of them have been listed below:  Indian Cotton Mills Federation brings out statistics on cotton textile industry.  BSE and NSE Directory contains information on financial accounts, key profitability and other data of listed joint stock companies.  FICCI, Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India etc brings out memoranda dealing with a specific industry and its problems.  Agencies like Cottage Industry Board, Tea Board, and Handicraft Board etc provide specific information in respect of their own product categories. 5. Syndicated services Syndicated services are provided by certain organizations, which collect and tabulate information on a continuing basis. Reports are based on information collected by such organizations and are sent periodically to clients or subscribers. Syndicated services are normally designed to suit the requirements of many individuals or firms. 6. Publications of International Organizations Some international agencies which provide valuable statistical data on a variety of socio-economic problems and political events are:  United Nations Organizations (UNO)  World Health Organization (WHO)  International Labour Organization (ILO)  International Monetary Fund (IMF)  World Bank  UNESCO  UNICEF  World Trade Organization (WTO) Prepared By: Anuj Bhatia [BBA (Gold Medalist), M.Com (Gold Medalist), GSET, UGC NET, Ph.D (Pur.)] 15 Contact: (M) 9898251471 E-mail: anujbhatia09@gmail.com SHAH TUITION CLASSES – Managed by: Nilesh Shah (M. 9825787333)