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Direct Personal Investigation: Meaning, Suitability, Merits, Demerits and Precautions

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What is Direct Personal Investigation?

Direct Personal Investigation or Personal Interview is a method of collecting primary data through which the investigator contacts the informant directly to collect data by conducting on-the-spot enquiry. He/she goes to the field personally, contacts the respondents, and convinces them to give the information required for the investigation. This method provides the interviewer or investigator with an opportunity to explain the study and answer the queries of the respondents. The investigator can also ask the respondent to expand the answers that are particularly essential for the investigation. Besides, the visual reactions of the respondents can also provide supplementary information to the interviewer.

For example, Body Shop wishes to conduct a statistical enquiry regarding the body shower gel used by people of Delhi NCR. For this, the company will select some investigators, who will approach the people living in Delhi NCR and collect the essential data. In such cases, it is essential that the investigator has a keen sense of observation about the area in which information is to be collected. Besides, the investigator must be polite, courteous, tactful, skilful, neutral, and accurate.

Suitability for Direct Personal Investigation

Direct Personal Investigation is suitable in the following cases:

  1. When the area of investigation is limited.
  2. When detailed information has to be collected.
  3. When a maximum degree of accuracy is required.
  4. When the nature of enquiry is confidential.
  5. When importance is given to originality.

Direct Personal Investigation satisfactory results to the investigator if the scope of the enquiry is narrow, and he/she is fully dependable and unbiased.

Merits of Direct Personal Investigation

Various advantages of Direct Personal Investigation are as follows:

1. Originality:

The data collected by the investigator using Direct Personal Investigation is original in character.

2. Reliable and Accurate:

As the investigator collects the information himself, he can ensure that the collected data is authentic and reliable. In simple terms, the first-hand information collected by the investigator is more reliable than the information collected through other sources.

3. Flexibility:

Direct Personal Investigation is a fairly elastic method of collecting primary data as the investigator can change the nature or way of asking the questions according to the respondent he is interviewing. Besides, this method also helps in getting different kinds of information as per the need of the situation.

4. Uniformity:

With this method, there is uniformity in the collection of information.

5. Economical:

If the field of investigation is limited, Direct Personal Investigation can help in the collection of information economically.

6. Suitable for all Types of Questions:

This method is beneficial for the investigator as it allows the use of all questions. He/she can also use open-ended questions and can clarify any ambiguity in the questions asked.

7. Other Information:

The last advantage of using the Direct Personal Investigation method for collecting primary data is that it also helps in collecting some additional information along with the regular information. This additional information can be helpful in the future investigation of the interviewer.

Demerits of Direct Personal Investigation

Various disadvantages of Direct Personal Investigation are as follows:

1. Not Suitable for Wide Areas:

Direct Personal Investigation is not suitable for the investigator when the area of coverage is considerably wide or when the investigator has to contact various respondents.

2. Expensive and Time-Consuming:

The Direct Personal Investigation method of collecting primary data is time-consuming and expensive, especially when the field of investigation is large.

3. Trained Personal:

The success of this method depends entirely on the investigator as the information is collected by him only. Therefore, it is essential that the investigator is thoroughly trained and unbiased, otherwise, it would be difficult to collect information.

4. Personal Prejudice:

If the investigator collecting the information is prejudiced or biased, then it will affect the accuracy of the collected information to a large extent and can hinder the whole investigation. An unbiased investigator can easily influence the respondents to get the answers they require.

Precautions for Direct Personal Investigation

While using the Direct Personal Investigation method for collecting primary data, an investigator should take the following precautions:

1. He should be well-versed in statistical techniques. 

2. He should have a good temperament.

3. The investigator should not be biased.

4. He should ask simple, straight, and unambiguous questions from the informants.

5. Ultimately, the investigator should be familiar with the tradition, culture, and language of the area concerned with the investigation.

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Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2023
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