METHODS OF COLLECTING DATA; THEIR ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
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1. Primary data – Primary data are those which are collected for the first time and are original in character. Primary sources are original sources from which the researcher directly collects data that have not been previously collected, e.g., collection of data directly by the researcher on brand awareness, brand preference, brand loyalty and other aspects of consumer behavior from a sample of consumers by interviewing them. Primary data are first-hand information collected through various methods such as observation, interviewing, mailing etc.
2. Secondary data – Secondary data are those which have already been collected by someone else and which have through some statistical analysis.These are sources containing data that have been collected and compiled for another purpose. The secondary sources consist of readily available compendia and already compiled statistical statements and reports whose data may be used by researches for their studies, e.g., census reports, annual reports and financial statements of companies, Statistical statements, etc.
Methods of Primary Data Collection
There are various methods of data collection. A ‘Method’ is different from a ‘Tool’. While a method refers to the way or mode of gathering data, a tool is an instrument used for the method. For example, a schedule is used for interviewing.
The important methods are :
© Mail survey
(f) Projective technique.
Observation involves gathering of data relating to the selected research by viewing and/or listening. Interviewing involves face-to-face con-versation between the investigator and the respondent. Mailing is used for collecting data by getting questionnaires completed by respondents. Ex-perimentation involves a study of independent variables under controlled conditions. Experiment may be conducted in a laboratory or in field in a natural setting. Simulation involves creation of an artificial situation similar to the actual life situation. Projective methods aim at drawing inferences on the characteristics of respondents by presenting to them stimuli. Each method has its advantages and disadvantages.
Meaning and Importance
Observation means viewing or seeing. We go on observing some thing or other while we are awake. Most of such observations are just casual and have no specific purpose. But observation as a method of data collection is different from such casual viewing.
Observation may be defined as a systematic viewing of a specific phenomenon in its proper setting or the specific purpose of gathering data for a particular study. Observation as a method includes both 'seeing' and 'hearing.' It is accompanied by perceiving as well.
Observation also plays a major role in formulating and testing hypothesis in social sciences. Behavioral scientists observe interactions in small groups; anthropologists observe simple societies, and small com-munities; political scientists observe the behavior of political leaders and political institutions.
Types of Observation
Observation may be classified in different ways. With reference to the investigator’s role, it may be classified into (a) participant observation, and (b) non-participant observation. In terms of mode of observation, it may be classified into © direct observation, and (d) indirect observation. With reference to the rigor of the system adopted, observation is classified into (e) controlled observation, and (f) uncontrolled observation.
Interviewing is one of the major methods of data collection. It may be defined as two-way systematic conversation between an investigator and an informant, initiated for obtaining information relevant to as a specific study.
It involves not only conversation, but also learning from the respondents’ gestures, facial expressions and pauses, and his environment. Interviewing requires face-to-face contact or contact over telephone and calls for interviewing skills. It is done by using a structured schedule or an unstructured guide.
Interviewing may be us either as a main method or as a supplementary one in studies of persons. Interviewing is the only suitable method for gathering information from illiterate or less educated respondents. It is useful for collecting a wide range of data from factual demographic data to highly personal and intimate information relating to a person's opinions, attitudes, and values, beliefs, past experience and future intentions. When qualitative information is required or probing is necessary to draw out fully, and then interviewing is required. Where the area covered for the survey is a compact, or when a sufficient number of qualified interviewers are available, personal interview is feasible.
Types of Interviews
The interviews may be classified into: (a) structured or directive interview, (b) unstructured or non-directive interview, © focused interview, (d) clinical interview and (e) depth interview.