Primary Data: Sources of Data Collection

Depending upon the sources, mainly there are two types of data i.e. primary data and secondary data. Primary data are those data which are collected afresh and for the first time on the account of concerned investigation. The primary data is thus original in character. Researcher or his staff collects the necessary data from field of inquiry. In the initial stage, the primary
data are raw in nature. After collecting the data, they are presented, edited, tabulated and analyzed at the central office of the investigator. On the basis of analyzed data, specific conclusions of the investigation is made.

There are different methods of collecting primary data. The main methods of them are:
  1. Observation Method
  2. Interview Method
  3. Information Through Correspondents
  4. Mailed Questionnaire Method
  5. Through Schedules
  6. Other Methods
1. Observation Method: In this method, the data are gathered by investigator on observing some events as they occur without asking from the respondents. The investigator watched each and every activities of the concerned units and note them  for taking information. The concerned units may be people, animal, objects etc. This is the most commonly used method specially in studies relating to behavioral sciences and animal sciences. The observation methods are also further classified into (a) Participant and Non-participant Observation, (b) Structured and Unstructured Observation, (c) Controlled and Uncontrolled Observation, (d) Behavioral and Non-behavioral Observation.

2. Interview Method: The interview is perhaps the most popular method of primary data collection in social research. It has been and still used in all kinds of practical situations. It is the direct method of collection of data. The interview is probably man's oldest and most often used device for obtaining information. The interview technique is a verbal method of obtaining data related with the research problem. A person who asks questions is known as interviewer and a person who gives the reply of the questions is known as interviewee.

Interview method can be used as personal interview (direct or indirect), telephone interview, Internet interview, focus group interview etc. Generally there are two types of interviews. They are

  1. Structured and Unstructured
  2. Standardized and Unstandardized
Structured and standardized interview use a set of predetermined questions whereas unstructured and unstandardized interviews do not use predetermined questions. In the later case, the interviewer is allowed much freedom to ask supplementary questions if it is necessary. The unstructured, unstandardized interview is an open situation in contrast to the structured, standardized interview which is closed situation.

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