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By:- Dr. Poonam Khurana
Statistical Thinking or Statistical Inquiry is one kind of
thinking process which requires evidence in the form of
some information, preferably quantitative, which is known
as data/statistical information.

In a statistical inquiry, the first step is to procure or collect
data. Every time the investigator may not start from the
very beginning. He must try to use what others have already
discovered, This will save us in cost, efforts and time. All
types of information collected without proper aim or
objective is of no use. Data Collection Methods

1. Primary data are collected by the investigator through field
survey. Such data are in raw form and must be refined before
use. Primary data is original, problem or project specific
and collected for the specific objectives and needs spelt out
by the researcher. The authenticity and relevance is
reasonably high.

2. On the other hand, secondary data are extracted from the
existing published or unpublished sources, that is from the
data already collected by others. Secondary data is
information that is not topical or research specific and has
been collected and compiled by some other researcher or
investigative body. It is recorded and published in a
structured format.

Problem identification and formulation stage: past data and
information on the topic under study. Can be extremely useful in
developing a conceptual framework for investigation.
Hypotheses designing: earlier work done on the topic and market data
as well as industry trends and market facts. Could help in developing
assumptions that can be translated into testable hypotheses for the study.
Sampling considerations: respondent-related databases are important
sources of respondent statistics and relevant contact details.
Primary base: can be used to design questionnaires for the primary
Validation and authentication board: earlier records and studies as
well as data pools. Can also be used to support or validate the information
collected through primary s
Resource advantage

Accessibility of data

Accuracy and stability of data

Assessment of data

Applicability of data: the purpose for which the
information was earlier collected was unique to that
study and thus the information might not be absolutely
applicable or relevant for the current study objective.

Accuracy of data: the source and data credibility is a
serious issue of concern when using past data and

The collection of primary data for business research
is of paramount importance to assist management in
making decisions. Generally, information regarding
a large number of characteristics are necessary to
analyse any problem pertaining to management. The
collection of primary data thus requires a great deal
of deliberation and expertise. Depending upon the
nature of information necessary, the following
methods of collecting primary data are available.
Observation involves viewing and recording individuals, groups,
organizations or events in a scientific manner in order to collect
valuable data related to the topic under study.

The investigator collects the requisite information personally through
observation. For example, in order to study the conditions of students
residing in a university, the investigator meets the students in their
hostels and collects necessary data after a personal study.

The information about the extent of damage caused by natural
calamities like flood can be collected by personal observation by a
trained investigator. As the investigator is solely responsible for
Collection of data by this method, his training, skill and knowledge
play an important role on the quality of primary data.

Level of respondent consciousness
Disguised observation
Undisguised observation

Observation setting
Natural environment
Simulated environment

Role of the human participant
The personal interview is a one to one interaction between
the investigator/interviewer and the interviewee. The
purpose of the dialogue is research specific and ranges
from completely unstructured to highly structured

Typical Usage:
Problem definition
Exploratory research
Primary data collection

Stating the interview objective

Identifying the interview guidelines: unstructured, semi-
structured or structured.

Screening the interviewees

Analysis and interpretation of interview data

Questionnaire Method

This is the simplest and most often used method of
primary data collection

There is a pre-determined set of questions in a
sequential format

Is designed to suit the respondents understanding
and language command

Can be conducted to collect useful data from a large
population in a short duration of time.
Types of Questionnaire
Formalized Non Formalized

Unconcealed Most research studies use
Standardized Questionnaires like

The response categories have
more flexibility
Concealed Used for assessing psychographic and
subjective constructs

Questionnaires using
projective techniques or
sociometric analysis

Formalized & unconcealed questionnaire: self-explanatory with most response
categories predefined

Out of the following options, where do you invest
(tick all that apply)
Precious metals----------------, real estate------------, stocks---------,
Government instruments---------, mutual funds------any other-------

Who carries out your investments?
Myself-----------, agent---------, relative-----------, friend------------, any other------

What is your source of information for these decisions?
Newspaper------------, investment magazines-----------, company records etc.------
----, Trading portals------------, agent------------

Non-formalized & concealed questionnaire:
undisguised and most response categories are not predefined

Why do you think Maggi noodles are liked by young children?

How do you generally decide on where you are going to invest
your money?-------------------------------------------------------------

Give three reasons why you believe that the 2010 Commonwealth Games
in India are going to help the country?
Types of questionnaire
method of administration
Self-administered questionnaire: respondents fills in
the questionnaire him/her self

Schedule: the investigator/researcher reads out the
questions and records the respondents answers
The questionnaire is the heart of the primary data collection
technique. Hence; its drafting requires utmost skill. The
questions must be clear, simple and to the point. They must be
well organised from the point of view of the respondent and be
formulated in such a manner as to provide the data in so far as
possible in the desired form.
A questionnaire is a Performa containing a sequence of
questions to elicit information from the interviewees. The
questionnaire is used for personal interview. At the same time
the questionnaire is also mailed to individuals who are
requested to write the answers against each question and to
return the completed Performa by post.

The General Form of a questionnaire
The form of a questionnaire will depend partly on the type
of data being sought and partly on the data collection
method to be used. The choice lies between two extremes.
On the one hand, there is the highly structured
questionnaire in which all questions and answers are
specified and continents in the respondents' own words are
held to a minimum. At the other end is the unstructured
questionnaire in which the interviewer is provided with a
general brief on the sort of information to be obtained but
the exact question is largely his own responsibility.

The unstructured questionnaires are useful in carrying out in depth
interviews where the aim is to probe for attitudes and reasons. They may
also be effectively employed in pretesting, the result of which can be used
as a basis for constructing a structured questionnaire at a later stage. The
main disadvantage with any unstructured questionnaire is that it requires
personal interview. It cannot be used in the mailed questionnaire
method of data collection.
A structured questionnaire usually has fixed alternative answers to each
question. They are simple to administer and relatively inexpensive to
analyse. The questionnaires have, however, their limitations. It is not
possible to record the responses made by the respondent in their own
words. They are considered inappropriate in investigations where the aim
happens to be to probe for attitudes and feelings.
Closed ended questions

1. Dichotomous questions

Are you diabetic? Yes / No

Have you read the new book by Dan Brown? Yes/no

What kind of petrol do you use in your car?

What kind of cola do you drink?

Your working hours in the organization are fixed/ fle
Closed Ended Questions

2. Multiple choice questions
How much do you spend on grocery products (average in one month)?
- Less than Rs. 2500/-
- Between Rs 2500-5000/-
- More than Rs 5000/-
You do not currently sell organic food products because (Could be 1)

- You do not know about organic food products.
- You are not interested.
- You are interested but you do not know how to procure it.
- It is not profitable.
-The customer demand is too low
- any other--------------------

Questionnaire Designing Criteria
Clearly specify the issue
Use simple terminology
Avoid ambiguity in questioning
Avoid leading questions
Avoid loaded questions
Avoid implicit choices and assumptions
Avoid double-barrelled questions

The Questionnaire Administration
Physical characteristics of the questionnaire

Pilot testing the questionnaire

Preparing the final draft of the questionnaire

Administering the questionnaire
The Question Sequence

The introduction to the questionnaire should be as short and simple as
possible. The introductory letter accompanying the mailed questionnaire
should also be made very brief..

Once the rapport is established the questions will generally seek
substantive information of ' value to the study. As a general rule,
questions that put too great a strain on the memory or the intellect
should be reserved till later. Likewise, questions relating to personal
wealth and personal character should be avoided in the beginning.

Following the opening phase should come the questions that are really
vital to the interview. Even here, substantive questions should be
surrounded by more interesting ones in order that the attention does not
slip. Awkward questions, which create the risk that the respondent may
discontinue the interview are usually relegated toward the end. By the
time the interview has been terminated, some information is already
available with the interviewer

The Question Wording
It has been stated that the question wording and formulation
are more of an art than a science. Science does enter, however,
in testing the stability and the adequacy of replies for
business and management decisions. The wording of the
questions should be impartial so as not to give a biased
picture of the true state of affairs. Colourful adjectives and
undue descriptive phrases should be avoided. In general the
questions should be worded such that (a) they are easily
understood (b) they are simple Cc) they are concrete and
conform to respondents' way of thinking.
The pretest is a valuable indicator of the
effectiveness of a questionnaire to collect data.
The pretesting of questionnaire consists in
selecting, approaching and interviewing a
small segment in the same manner to be
followed in the full scale operation and then
analysing the results in the light of the
objectives of the study.
We can understand from the pretest whether the replies provide
the type of information needed or whether the respondents are
misinterpreting any of the questions. In addition, results
obtained in a pretest can at times suggest new ideas or
hypotheses worthy of further examination.
If a pretest indicates any change of importance, a further pretest
may be warranted to review, the questionnaire. Thus, the mere
fact that the wording of a question originally misunderstood
has been changed does not of itself ensure the clarity of the
new form. A few interviews with the new question form are
highly desirable.
Pretests are sometimes conducted in an informal Manner.

Assurance of anonymity
Cost- & time-effective
Scope of coverage

Limited applicability
Skewed sample
Return ratio
Spontaneity of response

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 are
being filled by the enumerators who are appointed for
the purpose. Enumerators explain the aims and
objectives of the investigation and also remove the
difficulties which any respondent feels in
understanding the implications of a particular
question, definition or concept.
Secondary data are data which have been collected and
analysed by some other agency. The sources of
secondary data could be :
i) Various publications of Central, State and local
governments : The important official publications are
Statistical Abstract, India-Annual; Monthly Abstract
of Statistics (both published by Central Statistical
Organisation ); Indian Agricultural Statistics
(Annual) (Published by Ministry of Food and
Agriculture ); Index Number of Wholesale Prices in
India (Weekly) (Published by Ministry of Commerce
and Industry); Reserve Bank of India Bulletin
(Monthly) (Published by Reserve Bank of India).

ii) Various publications of foreign governments or of
international bodies : The important publications are
publications of international bodies like UNO, FAO,
WHO, UNESCO, ILO, Statistical Year Book (Published
by the Statistical Office of the United Nations),
Yearbook of Labour Statistics (Published by ILO,

The secondary data provided by such publications are
authentic, but along with other things, one must be
specially careful about the units in respect of currency,
weight etc. which greatly vary from one country to

Journals of trade, commerce, economics,
engineering etc. published by responsible trade
associations, Chambers of Commerce provide
secondary data in respect of some important items.
Some examples of this kind of publications are
"Annual Report of the Chief Inspector of Mines in
India" (issued annually by the office of the Chief
Inspector of Mines, Dhanbad) and "Indian Textile
Bulletin (issued monthly by the Textile
Commissioner, Bombay).
The other sources of secondary data are books,
magazines and newspapers, reports prepared by
various universities, historical documents, diaries,
letters, unpublished biographies and
Primary data are to be scrutinised after the
questionnaires are completed by the interviewers.
Likewise, the secondary data are to be scrutinised
before they are compiled from the source. The
scrutiny should be made to assess the suitability,
reliability, adequacy and accuracy of the data to be
compiled and to be used for the proposed study.

a. Suitability
b. Reliability
c. Adequacy
d. Accuracy