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STATISTICS FOR ECONOMICS
COLLECTION OF DATA
The purpose of collection of data is to collect evidence for reaching a sound and clear solution to a problem. When data for a period of varies from year to year they are called variable generally represented by the letters X, Y or Z. The values of these variables are the observation.
The food grain production in India varies between 100 million tonnes in 1970-71 to 220 million tonnes in 2001-02 as shown in the following table. The years are represented by variable X and the production of food grain in India (in million tonnes) is represented by variable Y
Production of Food Grain in India (Million Tonnes)
♦ WHAT ARE THE SOURCES OF DATA?
Statistical data can be obtained from two sources.
• Primary Data: The enumerator (person who collects the data) may collect the data by conducting an enquiry or an investigation. Such data are called Primary Data, OR first hand information.
• Secondary data: If the data have been collected and processed (scrutinised and tabulated) by some other agency, they are called Secondary Data. Generally, the published data are secondary data. They can be obtained either from published sources or from any other source, for example, a web site. Use of secondary data saves time and cost.
♦ HOW IS DATA COLLECTED?
Data is collected by conducting a survey by asking questions about a particular product or
topic from a large group of people. The purpose of the survey is to collect data. Survey is a
method of gathering information from individuals.
♦ PREPARATION OF SURVEY INSTRUMENT
The most common type of instrument used in surveys is questionnaire/ interview schedule. The questionnaire is either self administered by the respondent or administered by the researcher (enumerator) or trained investigator. While preparing the questionnaire/ interview schedule, the following
points must be kept in mind:
• The questionnaire should not be too long. Generally 10 – 15 questions. Long questionnaires discourage people from answering.
• The series of questions should move from general to specific.
• The questions should be precise and clear.
• The questions should not be ambiguous, to enable the respondents to answer quickly, correctly and clearly.
• The question should not use double negatives.
• The question should not be a leading question, which gives a clue about how the respondent should answer.
• The question should not indicate alternatives to the answer.
• The questionnaire may consist of closed ended (or structured) questions or open ended (or unstructured) questions.
Closed ended or structured questions can either be a two-way question or a multip1e choice question. Closed -ended questions are easy to use, score and code for analysis, because all the respondents respond from the given options.
Open-ended questions allow for more individualised responses, but they are difficult to interpret and hard to score, since there are a lot of variations in the responses.
♦ MODE OF DATA COLLECTION
There are three basic ways of collecting data:
1. Personal Interviews
This method is used when the researcher has access to all the members. The researcher conducts face to face interviews with the respondents.
• Personal contact is made between the respondent and the interviewer.
• The interviewer has the opportunity of explaining the study and answering any query of the respondents.
• The interviewer can request the respondent to expand on answers that are particularly important.
• Misinterpretation and misunderstanding can be avoided.
• Watching the reactions of the respondents can provide supplementary information.
• It is expensive
• It takes longer time to complete the survey.
• Presence of the researcher may hold back respondents from saying what they really think.
2. Mailing (questionnaire) Surveys
When the data in a survey are collected by mail, the questionnaire is sent to each individual by mail with a request to complete and return it by a given date.
• It is less expensive.
• It allows the researcher' to have access to people in remote areas, who might be difficult to reach in person or by telephone.
• It does not allow influencing of the respondents by the interviewer.
• It also permits the respondents to take sufficient time to answers to the questions.
• These days’ online surveys or surveys through short messaging service
• There is less opportunity to provide assistance in clarifying instructions
• There is a possibility of misinterpretation of questions.
• Mailing is also likely to produce low response rates due to factors such as returning the questionnaire without completing it, not returning the questionnaire at all, loss of questionnaire in the mail itself, etc.
3. Telephone Interviews
In a telephone interview, the investigator asks questions over the telephone.
• They are cheaper than personal interviews and can be conducted in a shorter time.
• They allow the researcher to assist the respondent by clarifying the questions.
• Telephone interview is better in the cases where the respondents are reluctant to answer certain questions in personal interviews.
Once the questionnaire is ready, it is advisable to conduct a try-out with a small group which is known as pilot OR Pre-Testing of the questionnaire.
• The pilot survey helps in providing a preliminary idea about the survey.
• It helps to know the shortcomings and drawbacks of the questions.
• It also helps in assessing the suitability of questions, clarity of instructions, Performance of enumerators and the cost and time involved in the actual survey.
♦ CENSUS AND SAMPLE SURVEYS
A survey, which includes every element of the population, is known as Census or the Method of Complete Enumeration. The essential feature of this method is that this covers every individual unit in the entire population. You cannot select some and leave out others.
Census of India is carried out every ten years. A house-to- house enquiry is carried out, covering all households in India. Demographic data on birth and death rates, literacy, workforce, life expectancy, size and composition of population, etc. are collected and published by the Registrar General of India.
Population or the Universe in statistics means totality of the items under study. A population is always all the individuals/items who possess certain characteristics or a set of characteristics according to the purpose of the survey.
The first task in selecting a sample is to identify the population. Once the population is identified, the researcher selects a Representative sample. A sample refers to a group or section of the population from which information is to be obtained. A good sample is generally smaller than the population and is capable of providing reasonably accurate information at a much lower cost and shorter time. Most of the surveys are sample
Advantages of Sampling
• A sample can provide reasonably reliable and accurate information at a lower cost and shorter time.
• More detailed information can be collected by conducting intensive enquiries.
• A smaller team of enumerators is required and it is easier to train than and supervise their work more effectively.
• There are two main types of sampling
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