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Dr. K.K Pandey

Harshita Malik
R 740210012
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Methods Of Data Collection

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 resercher 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 satistical

Collection Of Primary Data

There are several methods of collecting primary data, paticularly in surveys and descriptive
researches. In descriptive research, we obtain primary data either through observation or
through direct communication with respondents in one form or another or through personal

Various methods of primary data collection are:

• Questionnairs method

• Interview method

• Schedules method

• Observation method

• Projective techniques, Mapping and Scalling method

Questionnairs method

This method of data collection is quite popular particularly in case of big enquires. This
questonnaire 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.

Types of questionnaire are:

• Paper-pencil-questionnaires can be sent to a large number of people and saves the

researcher time and money.People are more truthful while responding to the
questionnaires regarding controversial issues in particular due to the fact that their
responses are anonymous. But they also have drawbacks.Majority of the people who
receive questionnaires don't return them and those who do might not be representative
of the originally selected sample.

• Web based questionnaires : A new and inevitably growing methodology is the use of
Internet based research. This would mean receiving an e-mail on which you would click
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on an address that would take you to a secure web-site to fill in a questionnaire. This
type of research is often quicker and less detailed.Some disadvantages of this method
include the exclusion of people who do not have a computer or are unable to access a
computer.Also the validity of such surveys are in question as people might be in a hurry
to complete it and so might not give accurate responses.

Advantages of Questionnaire

• Objectivity

• Freedom to think

• Flexibility of time

• Free to answer

Limitations of Questionnaire

• Difficult to analyze.

• Environmental effects.

• Collection is a challenge

• Ambiguous

Interview Method

This method of collecting data involves presentation or oral-verbal stimuli and reply in terms of
oral-verbal responses. These are different type of interviews as follows:

• Personal interview: The interviewer asls questions generally in a face to face contact to
the other person or persons.

• Telephonic interview: Whe it is not possible to contact the respondent directly, then
interview is conducted through- telephone.

• Structured interview: In this case, a set of pre- decided questions are there.

• Unstructured interview: In this case, we don’t follow a system of pre-determined


• Focused interview: Attention is focused on the given experience of the respondent and
its possible effects.

• Clinical interview: Concerned with broad underlying feelings or motivations or with the
course of individual’s life experience, rather than with the effects of the specific
experience, as in the case of focused interview.
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• Group interviews: A group of 6 to 8 individuals is interviewed.

• Qulaitative and Quantitative interviews: Divided on the basis of subject matter i.e.
wheather qualitative or quantitative.

• Individual interviews: Interviewer meets a single person and interviews him.

• Selection interview: Done for the selection of people for certain jobs.

• Depth interviews: It delibrately aims to elict unconscious as well as other types of

material relating especially to personality dynamics and motivations.


• Hesitation to express

• Vague

• Time restrictions

• Less time for thinking

• Subjective

• Researcher’s influence

• Consciousness

• Manipulated/polished/sophisticated/socially accepted responses may be preferred.

Schedules Method

The schedules is generally filled out by the research worker or the enumerator. Who can
interpret questions when necessary. Enumerator should be intelligent and must possess the
capacity of cross-examination in order to find out the truth.

Observation Method

Observation is a technique that involves systematically selecting, watching and recording

behaviour and characteristics of living beings, objects or phenomena.

Observation of human behaviour is a much-used data collection technique. It can be undertaken

in different ways:

• Participant observation: The observer takes part in the situation he or she observes.

(For example, a doctor hospitalised with a broken hip, who now observes hospital procedures
‘from within’.)
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• Non-participant observation: The observer watches the situation, openly or concealed,

but does not participate.


• Natural response

• Real collection of a data

• Self experience

• Understanding the subject.

• Useful for sociological research.


• Temporary form of data is acquired.

• Difficult to analyze the data.

• Time consumable.

• Practical difficulties.

Projective Techniques, Mapping And Scalling Method

When a researcher uses projective techniques, (s)he asks an informant to react to some kind of
visual or verbal stimulus.Such techniques can easily be combined with semi-structured
interviews or written questionnaires. They are also very useful in focused group discussions to
get people’s opinion on sensitive issues.

Mapping is a valuable technique for visually displaying relationships and resources.It gives
researchers a good overview of the physical situation and may help to highlight relationships
hitherto unrecognised. Mapping a community is also very useful and often indispensable as a
pre-stage to sampling.

Scaling is a technique that allows researchers through their respondents to categorise certain
variables that they would not be able to rank themselves.

Mapping and scaling may be used as participatory techniques in rapid appraisals or situation
analyses. In a separate volume on participatory action research, more such techniques will be

Advantages and disadvantages of primary data collection methods


• Basic data
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• Un biased information

• Original data

• Data from the primary market/ population

• Data direct from the population.


• Large volume of data.

• Huge volume of population.

• Time consuming

• Direct and personal intervention has to be there.

• Raw data.

Collection of secondary data

Secondary data arealredy available i.e. they refer to the data which have already been collected
and analyzed by someone else. Secondary data may either be published or unpublished data.
Researcher must be very careful in using secondary data, because the data available may be
sometime unsuitable.

Various sources of secondary data collection

• Internal sources

• External sources.

Advantages of Secondary Data

• Secondary data can be gathered quickly and inexpensively

• compared to primary data (data gathered specifically for the problem at hand).

• Such data are already available and can be obtained much faster and at a fraction of the
cost of collecting them again.

Problems Encountered with Secondary Data

• Secondary data tend to cost substantially less than primary data and can be collected in
less time.
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• Secondary data can be used as the only source of information to help solve a marketing
problem, they must be available, relevant, accurateand sufficient. If one or more of these
criteria are not met, primary data may have to be used.

• Availability: For some marketing problems, no secondary data are available

• Relevance: Relevance refers to the extent to which the data fit the information needs of
the research problem.

• Accuracy: This is important for two reasons. First, the original report is generally more
complete than a second or third report. It often contains warnings, shortcomings, and
methodological details not reported by the second or third source.

• Sufficiency: Secondary data may be available, relevant, and accurate, but still may not
be sufficient to meet all the data requirements for the problem being researched.

Internal Sources of Secondary Data

Internal sources can be classified into four broad categories:

• Accounting records

• Sales force reports

• Miscellaneous records

• Internal experts

Accounting Records: The basis for accounting records concerned with sales is the sales
invoice. The usual sales invoice has a sizable amount of information on it, which generally
includes name of customer, location of customer, items ordered, quantities ordered, quantities
shipped, dollar extensions, back orders, discounts allowed, date.

Sales Force Reports: Sales force reports represent a rich and largely untapped potential source
of marketing information. The word potential is used because evidence indicates that sales
personnel do generally not report valuable marketing information.

Miscellaneous Reports: Miscellaneous reports represent the third internal data source.
Previous marketing research studies, special audits, and reports purchased from outside for
prior problems may have relevance for current problems. As a firm becomes more diversified,
the more likely it is to conduct studies that may have relevance to problems in other areas of the

Internal Experts: One of the most overlooked sources of internal secondary data is internal
experts.An internal expert is anyone employed by the firm who has special knowledge.

External Sources of Secondary Data

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Numerous sources external to the firm may have data relevant to the firm's requirements.
Seven general categories of external secondary information are described in the sections that

• Computerized databases

• Associations

• Government agencies

• Syndicated services

• Directories

• Other published sources

• External experts.

Databases: A computerized database is a collection of numeric data and/or information that is

made computer-readable form for electronic distribution. There are than 3,500 databases
available from over 550 on-line service enterprises. Those that are available that are useful in
bibliographic search, site location, media planning, market planning, forecasting and for many
other purposes of interest to marketing researchers.

Associations: Associations frequently publish or maintain detailed information on industry sales,

operating characteristics, growth patterns, and the like. Furthermore, they may conduct special
studies of factors relevant to their industry. These materials may be published in the form of
annual reports, as part of a regular trade journal, or as special reports. In some cases, they are
available only on request from the association. Most libraries maintain reference works, such as
the Encyclopedia of Associations that list the various associations and provide a statement of
the scope of their activities.

Government Agencies: Federal, state, and local government agencies produce a massive
amount of data that are of relevance to marketers. In this section, the nature of the data
produced by the federal government is briefly described. However, the researcher should not
overlook state and local government data. There are also a number of specialized analytic and
research agencies, numerous administrative and regulatory agencies, and special committees
and reports of the judicial and legislative branches of the government.

These sources produce five broad types of data of interest to marketers. There are data on (1)
population, housing, and income; (2) agricultural, industrial, and commercial product sales of
manufacturers, wholesalers, retailers, and service organisations; (3) financial and other
characteristics of firms; (4) employment; and (5) miscellaneous reports.

Syndicated Services: A wide array of data on both consumer and industrial markets is collected
and sold by commercial organizations.
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Directories: Any sound marketing strategy requires an understanding of existing and potential
competitors and customers. Suppose you were asked to prepare a report on the forest
products industry, to aid your organization in developing a sales and marketing approach to
lumber manufacturers. A number of services and directories would prove useful. A general
industry directory such as Thomas Register of American Manufacturers is a good starting place.
This sixteen-volume, set lists manufacturers' products and services by product category. It
provides the company name, address, telephone number, and an estimate of its asset size. It
also contains an extensive trademark listing and samples of company catalogs.

Other Published Sources: There is a virtually endless array of periodicals, books, dissertations,
special reports, newspapers, and the like that contain information relevant to marketing

External Experts: External experts are individuals outside your organization whose job provides
them with expertise on your industry or activity. State and government officials associated with
the industry, trade association officials, editors and writers for trade and publications, financial
analysts focusing on the industry, government and university researchers, and distributors often
have expert knowledge relevant to marketing problems.