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Primary Data – Primary Data Collection Methods | Research Methodology

Primary Data

Primary Data is the original and fresh data or we can say the first-hand data collected for the specific purpose of the 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 a sample survey or experiment, and the data generated by these methods are correspondingly called survey data and experimental data.

Primary Data Collection Methods

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

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

Advantages of Direct Personal Interview

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

Disadvantages of Direct Personal Interview

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

2) Telephone interview

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

Advantages of Telephone Interview

  • It helps to reach a no. of different people across the country or even internationally in a relatively short span of time.
  • It 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 the phone.

Disadvantages of Telephone Interview

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

3) Indirect Oral Interview

An indirect Oral Interview is a method of collecting data where the investigator contacts a third person called a 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.

Advantages of the Indirect Oral Interview

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

Disadvantages of the Indirect Oral Interview

  • 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, he/she can twist the fact.

4) Information from local correspondents

Information from local correspondents is the method of data collection where the local agents called correspondents employed in various places collect information in their own ways and send it 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.

Advantages of information from Local Correspondents

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

Disadvantages of information from Local Correspondents

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

5) Mailed Questionnaire Method

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

Advantages of the Mailed Questionnaire Method

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

Disadvantages of the Mailed Questionnaire Method

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

6) Internet Surveys

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

Advantages of Internet Surveys

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

Disadvantages of Internet Surveys

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

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