Sources of Data

Sources of Primary Data

The sources of generating primary data are:

  1. Observation Method
  2. Survey Method
  3. Experimental Method

Experimental Method

There are number of experimental designs that are used in carrying out and experiment. However, Market researchers have used 4 experimental designs most frequently. These are -

  1. CRD - Completely Randomized Design

  2. RBD - Randomized Block Design - The term Randomized Block Design has originated from agricultural research. In this design several treatments of variables are applied to different blocks of land to ascertain their effect on the yield of the crop.

    Blocks are formed in such a manner that each block contains as many plots as a number of treatments so that one plot from each is selected at random for each treatment. The production of each plot is measured after the treatment is given. These data are then interpreted and inferences are drawn by using the analysis of Variance Technique so as to know the effect of various treatments like different dozes of fertilizers, different types of irrigation etc.

  3. LSD - Latin Square Design - A Latin square is one of the experimental designs which has a balanced two way classification scheme say for example - 4 X 4 arrangement. In this scheme each letter from A to D occurs only once in each row and also only once in each column. The balance arrangement, it may be noted that, will not get disturbed if any row gets changed with the other.

    A B C D
    B C D A
    C D A B
    D A B C

    The balance arrangement achieved in a Latin Square is its main strength. In this design, the comparisons among treatments, will be free from both differences between rows and columns. Thus the magnitude of error will be smaller than any other design.

  4. FD - Factorial Designs - This design allows the experimenter to test two or more variables simultaneously. It also measures interaction effects of the variables and analyzes the impacts of each of the variables.

In a true experiment, randomization is essential so that the experimenter can infer cause and effect without any bias.

Sources of Secondary Data

While primary data can be collected through questionnaires, depth interview, focus group interviews, case studies, experimentation and observation; The secondary data can be obtained through

  1. Internal Sources - These are within the organization
  2. External Sources - These are outside the organization

Internal Sources of Data

If available, internal secondary data may be obtained with less time, effort and money than the external secondary data. In addition, they may also be more pertinent to the situation at hand since they are from within the organization. The internal sources include

  1. Accounting resources- This gives so much information which can be used by the marketing researcher. They give information about internal factors.

  2. Sales Force Report- It gives information about the sale of a product. The information provided is of outside the organization.

  3. Internal Experts- These are people who are heading the various departments. They can give an idea of how a particular thing is working

  4. Miscellaneous Reports- These are what information you are getting from operational reports.

If the data available within the organization are unsuitable or inadequate, the marketer should extend the search to external secondary data sources.

External Sources of Data

External Sources are sources which are outside the company in a larger environment. Collection of external data is more difficult because the data have much greater variety and the sources are much more numerous.

External data can be divided into following classes.

  1. Government Publications- Government sources provide an extremely rich pool of data for the researchers. In addition, many of these data are available free of cost on internet websites. There are number of government agencies generating data. These are:

    1. Registrar General of India- It is an office which generate demographic data. It includes details of gender, age, occupation etc.

    2. Central Statistical Organization- This organization publishes the national accounts statistics. It contains estimates of national income for several years, growth rate, and rate of major economic activities. Annual survey of Industries is also published by the CSO. It gives information about the total number of workers employed, production units, material used and value added by the manufacturer.

    3. Director General of Commercial Intelligence- This office operates from Kolkata. It gives information about foreign trade i.e. import and export. These figures are provided region-wise and country-wise.

    4. Ministry of Commerce and Industries- This ministry through the office of economic advisor provides information on wholesale price index. These indices may be related to a number of sectors like food, fuel, power, food grains etc. It also generates All India Consumer Price Index numbers for industrial workers, urban, non manual employees and cultural labourers.

    5. Planning Commission- It provides the basic statistics of Indian Economy.

    6. Reserve Bank of India- This provides information on Banking Savings and investment. RBI also prepares currency and finance reports.

    7. Labour Bureau- It provides information on skilled, unskilled, white collared jobs etc.

    8. National Sample Survey- This is done by the Ministry of Planning and it provides social, economic, demographic, industrial and agricultural statistics.

    9. Department of Economic Affairs- It conducts economic survey and it also generates information on income, consumption, expenditure, investment, savings and foreign trade.

    10. State Statistical Abstract- This gives information on various types of activities related to the state like - commercial activities, education, occupation etc.

  2. Non Government Publications- These includes publications of various industrial and trade associations, such as
    1. The Indian Cotton Mill Association
    2. Various chambers of commerce
    3. The Bombay Stock Exchange (it publishes a directory containing financial accounts, key profitability and other relevant matter)
    4. Various Associations of Press Media.
    5. Export Promotion Council.
    6. Confederation of Indian Industries ( CII )
    7. Small Industries Development Board of India
    8. Different Mills like - Woolen mills, Textile mills etc

    The only disadvantage of the above sources is that the data may be biased. They are likely to colour their negative points.

  3. Syndicate Services- These services are provided by certain organizations which collect and tabulate the marketing information on a regular basis for a number of clients who are the subscribers to these services. So the services are designed in such a way that the information suits the subscriber. These services are useful in television viewing, movement of consumer goods etc. These syndicate services provide information data from both household as well as institution.

    In collecting data from household they use three approaches

    1. Survey- They conduct surveys regarding - lifestyle, sociographic, general topics.
    2. Mail Diary Panel- It may be related to 2 fields - Purchase and Media.
    3. Electronic Scanner Services- These are used to generate data on volume.
    They collect data for Institutions from
    1. Whole sellers
    2. Retailers, and
    3. Industrial Firms

    Various syndicate services are Operations Research Group (ORG) and The Indian Marketing Research Bureau (IMRB).

    Importance of Syndicate Services

    Syndicate services are becoming popular since the constraints of decision making are changing and we need more of specific decision-making in the light of changing environment. Also Syndicate services are able to provide information to the industries at a low unit cost.

    Disadvantages of Syndicate Services

    The information provided is not exclusive. A number of research agencies provide customized services which suits the requirement of each individual organization.
  4. International Organization- These includes

    1. The International Labour Organization (ILO)- It publishes data on the total and active population, employment, unemployment, wages and consumer prices

    2. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD)- It publishes data on foreign trade, industry, food, transport, and science and technology.

    3. The International Monetary Fund (IMA)- It publishes reports on national and international foreign exchange regulations.

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