Primary Data Collection Methods – Methods of collecting primary data in research | Management notes

Primary Data Collection Methods
Methods of collecting primary data in research
Sources of Data Collection | data collection techniques | data collection and analysis methods
Types of data collection methods
Management notes

Primary Data are the original and fresh data or we can say the first hand data collected for specific purpose of study and it happened to be original in character. These data have not been previously assembled or collected for any known project. Primary data are usually collected by conducting sample survey or experiment, and the data generated by these methods are correspondingly called survey data and experimental data.

Some of the methods of collecting primary data are as follows:

  • Direct Personal interview
  • Telephone Interviews
  • Indirect Oral interview
  • Information from local correspondents
  • Mailed questionnaire method
  • Internet Surveys

1) Direct Personal interview:

Direct Personal interview is a form of face to face direct communication in which an interviewer asks questions to the respondents.


  • Helps to get complete and precise information.
  • Helps to get opportunity for feedback.
  • There is high participation.
  • Most suitable method for intensive study where the field of enquiry is small.
  • Sensitive questions can also be asked if respondent feels comfortable with the interviewer.


  • It is a costly method and takes a long time to collect information.
  • There may be greater chance of personal prejudice and biasness which may lead respondents to not provide confidential information to another person.
  • This method may not be suitable for extensive studies where the area of enquiry is wide.

2) Telephone interview:

Telephone interview is a well-established form of data collection where the interviewer contacts respondents by telephone rather than by mail.


  • Helps to reach a no. of different people across the country or even internationally in a relatively short span of time.
  • Helps to eliminate discomfort for the respondent that some might feel in facing the interviewer.
  • It is possible some people may share more information over phone.


  • Respondent may unilaterally terminate the interview without warning or explanation by hanging up the phone.
  • Researcher or interviewer will not be able to see the respondent to read the non-verbal communication.

3) Indirect Oral Interview:

Indirect Oral Interview is a method of collected data where the investigator contacts third person called witness capable of supplying the necessary information.

This method is used where the information to be obtained is of a complex nature and the informants are not inclined to respond by direct contact method.


  • Helps to save time, money and labor.
  • Helps to cover a much wider area easily.
  • Helps to obtain the opinions and suggestions of experts.


Since, the information is obtained from the informants not directly connected so it is doubtful that the results will be fully true.
If the investigator is biased person then he/she can twist the fact.

4) Information from local correspondents:

Information from local correspondents is method of data collection where the local agents called correspondents employed in various places collect information in their own ways and send them to the central office where data are analyzed and processed.

This method is generally used by newspaper agencies to get information about important events regarding politics,sports,accidents,strikes,etc.


  • Helps to collect information from a wide area.
  • Very cheap and yields results easily and promptly.
  • Information can be obtained on a regular basis.


  • Information may not be accurate and reliable due to personal prejudice and biasness.
  • Very difficult to check or verify the accuracy of the collected data.

5) Mailed Questionnaire Method:

Mailed Questionnaire is method of data collection where a questionnaire consisting a list of questions pertaining to the enquiry is prepared having some blank spaces for answers and is sent to the respondents who are expected to write the answers in the blank spaces.


  • Most economical method as it needs least amount of money, time and manpower.
  • Information can be easily obtained however the area may be.
  • Since, information is given by informants themselves the information are free from biasness of the investigator.


  • Can’t be used where the informants are not literate.
  • Considerable non-responses as most of the informants don’t return the questionnaire.
  • Returned questionnaire may be filled with haphazard answers because informants might have misunderstood the question.

6) Internet Surveys:

Internet Surveys is a method of data collection where a self-administered questionnaire is posted on a website  and respondents provide answers to questions displayed on screen by highlighting a phrase clicking an icon or keying in an answer.


  • Speed, Cost effectiveness and can be easily handled.
  • Easy to data management.
  • Less chance of error.
  • Large no. of people can be reached easily.


  • Computer knowledge is compulsory.
  • Internet access is necessary.
  • Misunderstand of questions may be very high.

Author: Smirti

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