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Questionnaires and Schedules Method of Data Collection

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Questionnaires & Schedule method of data collection :

The questionnaires are the fundamental instrument for gathering information in review research. Fundamentally, it is a bunch of standardized questions, frequently called items, which follow a decent plan to gather individual information around at least one explicit theme.

The schedule is a formalized arrangement of inquiries, proclamations, statements, and spaces for replies given to the enumerators who pose inquiries to the respondents and note down the responses.

Following are the two ways of collecting data through questionnaires:

  1. Mailing Method
  2. Enumerator Method

1. Mailing Method: 

In this method of data collection, the investigator prepares a questionnaire related to the investigation and mailed it to different individuals with a request to fill it out and send it back. In the questionnaire, the investigator provides the respondents with a black space to write their answers. Also, the investigators usually enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope with the questionnaire for returning it by post. Besides, the respondents are given assurance regarding the secrecy of the information provided by them for the study. Mailing Method is normally adopted by research workers and other official and non-official agencies. 

Suitability of Mailing Method

Mailing Method is suitable in the following cases:

  1. When the field of investigation is very large.
  2. When the respondents are educated and are likely to cooperate with the investigators and their investigation.
  3. Merits and Demerits of Mailing Method

Merits of Mailing Method

Various advantages of the Mailing Method are as follows:

1. Wide Coverage: This strategy is valuable when the field of examination is large, and the respondents are dispersed over a wide region. Besides, this is the only method of collecting data that reaches remote areas.

2. No Role of Questioner: It is liberated from the inclination of the questioner.

3. Time: In this method, respondents have sufficient time to give the required information.

4. Free from Bias: The respondents interpret the questions in their own way; therefore, this method is free from any personal bias of the investigator.

5. Direct Involvement: There is uniformity in the data collected because informants are directly involved in this.

6. Economical: The Mailing Method is economical as it requires less time, effort, and money.

7. Maintains Secrecy: It is suitable when the investigation involved sensitive questions as it maintains the secrecy of the respondent. 

Demerits of Mailing Method

Some of the disadvantages of the Mailing Method are as follows:

1. Educated Informants: It cannot be utilized for unskilled or uninformed respondents.

2. Non-reaction: The pace of non-reaction is high as compared with other techniques.

3. Uncertainty: The command over the survey might be lost whenever it is sent.

4. Lack of Clarity: It is challenging to confirm the precision of the responses given. 

5. Feasibility: To check the feasibility of the data collected, a pilot study is essential in this technique. 

6. Chances of Misinterpretation: Every respondent interprets the question in their own way, which may not be the same as the sense in which the investigator is asking the question, resulting in vague and ambiguous answers.

Precautions for Mailing Method

The investigator should keep the following points in mind while using the mailing method:

1. The questionnaire should be simple, attractive, and short.

2. The questions under this method should not hurt the sentiments and feelings of the informants, and should not be very personal.

3. The questions should be formed with a proper system, sequence, and planning.

4. The investigator should clearly define the object of enquiry.

5. The investigator should make effort to get the information as early as possible.

6. There should be a self-addressed and stamped envelope along with the questionnaire.

2. Enumerator Method:

Under the Enumerator Method, the enumerator takes the questionnaire and personally visits the informants, asks questions from them, and notes down their replies. An enumerator is a trained person who collects information and performs all the field work related to the collection of data. The enumerator also helps the respondents in understanding the true interpretation of the questions and fills up the schedules themselves to avoid ambiguous and vague replies. Besides, to get reliable information from the respondents, an enumerator should be we-trained, tactful, hard-working, and unbiased. This method is generally used by semi-government organisations, governments, research institutions, etc. The questionnaire filled by the investigator is known as a Schedule.

Suitability of Enumerator Method

The Enumerator Method is suitable in the following cases:

  1. When adequate finance and trained enumerators are available to cover a wide field. 
  2. When the respondents are not literate.
  3. Merits and Demerits of Enumerator Method

Merits of Enumerator Method

Various advantages of Enumerators Method are as follows:

1. Uneducated Persons: As the enumerator, himself fills the questionnaire, this method can be used in those cases where the target population is not proficient. 

2. Assistance: Respondents can address perplexing and troublesome inquiries with the assistance of the enumerators.

3. Less Chance of Bias: It leaves little scope for the poll to be biased.

4. Reliability: The data collected is more reliable and correct.

5. Responsiveness: There is less chance of non-response as the enumerator presonally visits people.

Demerits of Enumerator Method

Some of the disadvantages of Enumerators Method are as follows:

1. Costly: It is a costly method and requires a lot of money. 

2. Time-Consuming: It is a very time-consuming process as the enumerator has to personally go and visit the respondents.

3. Skilled Personnel: The outcome of this technique relies upon the accessibility of prepared and skilled enumerators.

4. Personal Bias: The inclination of enumerators could impact the result of data.

5. Affordability: It can only be afforded by big organisations.

Precautions of Enumerator Method

The investigator should keep the following points in mind while using enumerator method:

1. It is necessary for the enumerator to be the person of high integrity and should be properly trained for using statistical tools.

2. The enumerator should be tactful, polite, laborious, and honest to the work assigned to him.

3. It is also important that the informant is properly educated regarding the objective of investigation.

4. The enumerator’s work should be timely evaluated.

5. The questions of a schedule should be simple, clear, and small in length.

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Last Updated : 06 Apr, 2023
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