Showing posts with label Research Methodology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Research Methodology. Show all posts

Thursday, 6 January 2022

Observation:

Observation is the basic method of obtaining information about the world around us and is one of the most basic data collection methods. Observation involves ‘seeing’ things such as objects, processes, relationships and events and formally recording and analysing what is seen. All observation, however, is not scientific observation. Observation becomes a scientific tool for the researchers to the extent that it serves a formulated research purpose, is planned systematically, is related to more general theoretical propositions, is recorded systematically and is subjected to check and controls on validity and reliability. 

Mrs. P. V. Young, in her book ‘Scientific Social Surveys and Research’, has defined observation as “Observation is a systematic and deliberate study through the eye of spontaneous occurrences at the time they occur”. As per Young's definition, observation is carried out with the eye, and the purpose and aim of observation are to discover significant mutual relations between spontaneously occurring events. 

Moser has also supported the argument of Mrs. P. V. Young in a partial way. He has given more emphasis on the eye than any other organs like the ear and voice. He has mentioned his argument in his book 'Survey Methods in Social Investigation', “Observation implies the use of eyes rather than that of the ears and the voice.” 

According to Oxford Concise Dictionary, Observation means, “accurate watching, knowing of phenomena as they occur in nature with regard to cause and effect or mutual relations.” This meaning of observation highlights two points. Firstly, in observation an attempt is made to discover casual and other relations between facts of a phenomenon; secondly, the phenomenon is watched realistically and precisely and the facts are written down. 

Observation is the most important and general technique of making new discoveries and conducting researches in the field of natural and social sciences. In recording the observed phenomena, the observer specified those which has importance in the problem. 

Observations sometimes act scientifically, when used by the researchers in various research works but it should be noted that all observations are not scientific in nature.

Types of Observation:

  1. Participant observation: In this observation, the observer becomes more or less one of the group members and may actually participate in some activity or the other of the group. The observer may play any one of the several roles in observation, with varying degrees of participation, as a visitor, an attentive listener, an eager learner, or as a participant observer. For example, a study of tribal customs by an anthropologist by taking part in tribal activities like a folk dance. The person who is observed should not be aware of the researcher’s purpose. Then only their behaviour will be ‘natural.’

Participant observation can be known (overt) or unknown (covert).

  1. Overt: When the researcher asks permission from a group to mingle the observation method is known as overt. He does so by revealing his true purpose and real identity to the group with whom he wants to mingle.

  2. Covert: When the researcher does not show either his true identity or real meaning to the group he wants to join then the observation is known as covert. He keeps both concealed and takes on a false role and identity to enter and mingle in the group. He generally acts as if he is a genuine member of that group.

  1. Non-Participant observation: In this method, the observer stands apart and does not participate in the phenomenon observed. Naturally, there is no emotional involvement on the part of the observer. This method calls for skill in recording observations in an unnoticed manner. For example, the use of recording devices to examine the details of how people talk and behave together.

  2. Direct observation: Direct observation refers to the situation when the observer remains physically present and personally monitors what takes place. This approach is very flexible because it allows the observer to react to and report subtle aspects of events as they occur. During the act of observation, the observer is free to change the focus of observation, concentrate on unexpected events, or even change the place of observation if the situation demands. For example, the observer is physically present to monitor.

  3. Indirect Observation: Indirect observation occurs when the recording is done by mechanical, photographic, videotape, cameras, or other electronic means. For example, a special camera may be set in a department store to study customers’ or employees’ movements. A camera may also be mounted in a passenger train or plane to determine passenger’s comfort by observing how passengers sit and move in their seats. Such observation can also be conducted in planning traffic control and redesigning peripheral streets.

  4. Controlled observation: Controlled observation is carried out either in the laboratory or in the field. It is typified by clear and explicit decisions on what, how, and when to observe. It is primarily used for inferring causality, and testing causal hypotheses.

  5. Uncontrolled observation: This does not involve over extrinsic and intrinsic variables. It is primarily used for descriptive research. Participant observation is a typical uncontrolled one.

ADVANTAGES OF OBSERVATION:

  1. Simplest Method:  Observation is probably the most common and the simplest method of data collection. It does not require much technical knowledge. Although scientific controlled observation requires some technical skill of the researcher, still it is easier than other methods. Everybody in this world observes many things in their daily life. A little training can make a person perfect, to observe his surroundings.

  2. Useful for Framing Hypothesis: Observation is one of the main bases of formulating a hypothesis. By observing a phenomenon continuously, the researcher may get well acquainted with the observed. He came to know about their habits, likes, dislikes, problems, perceptions, different activities and so many other things. All these help him a lot to form a hypothesis on them. Any researcher, therefore, has to be a good observer.

  3. Greater Accuracy: In other methods like interviews, questionnaires etc., the researcher has to depend on the information provided by the respondents. So these are indirect methods and here the investigator does not have any means to examine the accuracy of the data supplied by them. But in observation, the observer can directly check the accuracy from the observed. He can apply various devices to test the reliability of their behaviour. So very often the data collected through observation is more reliable than those collected through interviews or questionnaires.

  4. Universal Method: Observation is a common method used in all sciences, whether physical or social. So it has greater universality of practice. As a common method, it is very easily followed and accepted.

  5. Observation is the Only Appropriate Tool for Certain Cases: Observation can deal with phenomena that are not capable of giving verbal information about their behaviour, feeling and activities simply for the reason that they cannot speak e.g. infants or animals. Observation is indispensable for studies on infants who can neither understand the quarries of the researcher nor express themselves clearly. In the case of animals observation is the only way out. For deaf and dumb persons, for serious cases of abnormality or mad persons, for non-cooperative persons, for too shy persons and for persons who do not understand the language of the researcher, observation will be the only appropriate tool.

  6. Independent of People’s Willingness to Report: Observation does not require the willingness of the people to provide various information about them. Often some respondents do not like to speak about themselves to an outsider. Some people do not have the time or required skills to provide important information to the researcher. Although observation cannot always overcome such problems, still relatively speaking it requires less active co-operation and willingness of respondents. Observation is never possible without the knowledge of the respondents.

DISADVANTAGES OF OBSERVATION:

  1. Some of the Occurrences may not be Open to Observation: There are many personal behaviours or secret activities which are not open for observation. For example, no couple will allow the researcher to observe their sexual activities. In most cases, people do not allow an outsider to study their activities.

  2. Not all Occurrences Open to Observation can be Observed when Observer is at Hand: Such problems arise because of the uncertainty of the event. Many social events are very much uncertain in nature. It is a difficult task on the part of the researcher to determine their time and place. The event may take place in the absence of the observer. On the other hand, it may not occur in the constant presence of the observer. For example, the quarrel and fight between two individuals or groups are never certain. Nobody knows when such an event will take place.

  3. Not all Occurrences Lend Themselves to Observational Study: Most of the social phenomenon is abstract in nature. For example, the love, affection, feeling and emotion of parents towards their children are not open to our senses and also cannot be quantified by observational techniques. The researcher may employ other methods like a case study; interviews etc. to study such phenomena.

  4. Lack of Reliability: Because social phenomena cannot be controlled or used for laboratory experiments, generalizations made by the observation method are not very reliable. The relative-ness of the social phenomena and the personal bias of the observer again create difficulty for making valid generalizations in observation. P.V. Young remarks that in observation, no attempt is made to use instruments of precision to check the accuracy of the phenomenon.

  5. Faulty Perception: Observation is a highly technical job. One is never sure that what he is observing is the same as it appears to his eyes. Two persons may judge the same phenomena differently. One person may find something meaningful and useful from a situation but the other may find nothing from it. Only those observers who are having technical knowledge about the observation can make scientific observations.

  6. Personal Bias of the Observer: Personal bias, personal view or looking at things in a particular way often creates obstacles for making valid generalizations. The observer may have his own ideas of right and wrong or he may have different pre-conceptions regarding an event which kills the objectivity in social research.

  7. Slow Investigation: Observation is a time taking process. P.V. Young rightly remarks that the valid observation cannot be hurried; we cannot complete our investigation in a short period through observation. It sometimes reduces the interest of both observer and observed to continue their observation process.

  8. Expensive: Observation is a costly affair. It requires high cost, plenty of time and hard effort. Observation involves travelling, staying at the place of phenomena and purchasing sophisticated equipment’s. Because of this, it is called one of the most expensive methods of data collection.

  9. Inadequate Method: According to P.V. Young, “the full answers cannot be collected by observation alone”. Therefore many suggested that observation must be supplemented by other methods also.

  10. Difficulty in Checking Validity: Checking the validity of observation is always difficult. Many of the phenomena of observation cannot be defined with sufficient precision and do not help in drawing a valid generalization. The lack of competence of the observer may hamper the validity and reliability of observation.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Research Methodology Problems of Objectivity in Social Research

Research Methodology Problems of Objectivity in Social Research

Objectivity is always based on the reality of the social phenomenon without any based judgments. Although social research concentrates on social facts which have influenced the human mind. All social scientists are part of human society and their perception regarding any social phenomena is bound to be subjective in nature and tinted by researchers’ own experience. The following discussion gives an explanation about the major problems or difficulties of objectivity in social research; 

  1. Objectivity represents the reality of individual perception from the external perspective. An objectivist approach taken by the Marxists, functionalists, or critical theorists who adopted an external or transcendent viewpoint indicates the actor’s personal or individual experience. So it is found that for objectivists neutral, external, scientific, observers are the only ones who have access to reality whereas the members of society are restricted to appearances. 

  2. The subject matter of social science research is too complex. All propositions are limited to particular social groups and contexts. Thus objectivity is a major issue in social science research where subjectivity is always.

  3. All members of the society have different values, social researchers will unconsciously influence their values. 

  4. Social scientist fails to achieve objectivity because the respondents are human beings have certain human problems, for example, refusal of the respondent, improper understanding, reluctance, etc. All these problems cause biases and invalidate the research findings and conclusions. 

  5. The difficulties of objectivity in social inquiries are attributed to the fact that the researcher is a social being and is also actively participating in socio-legal affairs. In answering this objection, we may say that the biologist is himself an organism and a physicist also a body of given mass, interacting with other organisms and bodies. If objectivity is not achieved in legal studies with the above objection, similar is the case with other sciences also. 

  6. The failure of the researcher lacking in detachment from his social environment generally points to the special potency of interests and emotions which are centred on their interrelationship with other people. In this regard, one should not forget that potent interests and emotions do not inevitably give rise to bias. They do so where satisfaction is gained by our escaping from difficulties rather than by overcoming.

  7. The future of the researcher’s lacking objectives is attributed to social prejudice and custom-based beliefs. Considering carefully, it may be said that social prejudice does sometimes pay and deliver social good. The custom-based beliefs generally contribute to social stability. It is this that makes them less susceptible to challenge. 

FACTORS AFFECTING OBJECTIVITY 

It is very difficult to achieve objectivity in social science research. This difficulty arises out of the adverse influences of (a) personal prejudices and bias, (b) value judgment, (c) ethical dilemma, and (d) complexity of social phenomena. 

  1. Personal prejudices and biases: Prejudices and biases are like fantasies to believe what is comforting to believe. It makes to believe something without considering the evidence. The subjective bias in research is a result of adverse influences of personal motives, customs, and social situations. The sources of bias are selfishness, over-ambition, friendship, relationship, caste and community, class, religion, location, nationalism, language, political affinity, profession, opportunism, sexual bias, business, careerism, group bias, temperament bias, power bias, personal bias, pessimism, optimism, fanaticism, and militancy. Guarding against such biases becomes a matter of perpetual vigilance for a true researcher.

  2. Value Judgment: Value related problems arise from the social context within which research occurs. A researcher’s attitudes towards socio-economic issues are influenced by his values. The objective observer must strive at self-elimination in his judgments and provide an argument that is as true for each individual mind as his own. He has to overcome his subjective judgment. But all persons living in a society are bound to have a set of values.

  3. Ethical dilemma: Research relation with other aspects of research creates ethical problems. E.g. Relation with sponsors, relation with source data, relation with the research subject, etc,. d. the complexity of social phenomena: Social phenomena are too complex for easy comprehension and too vast to have the prescribed knowledge. 

CONCLUSION 

Achieving objectivity of an instrument or study principally requires standardization of the ways in which data are collected, analyzed, and interpreted. This will exclude the subjective or individual influences of the researcher or the concrete situation in which data were collected. In the light of the above reasons, it can be said that obtaining or maintaining objectivity in social science research is not impossible but is difficult. At any stage in research personal motives, social situations, irrational faith, etc. would always influence the researchers. So we must find the best means of avoiding these obstacles. The true remedy seems to be one of making oneself conscious of the influences and being alert and careful in his research process. Social science researchers should constantly engage in improving the techniques or methods of data collection. Besides improving the methods, it is also essential to apply appropriate tools and techniques to eliminate bias, prejudice in research. In the real sense, what is needed is the perfecting of tools which will register, record and classify finer qualitative distinctions.  

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Reference 

  • Methodology of Research in Social Sciences by O.R. Krishnaswami, M. Ranganatham, 2015: Himalayan Publishing house: New Delhi

  • Theory and Practice in Social Research by Dr. Hans Raj, 2018:  Surjeet Publications; India

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Case Study: Types, Advantages And Disadvantages

 Case Study: Types, Advantages And Disadvantages 

Case study is both method and tool for research. Case study is the intensive study of a phenomenon, but it gives subjective information rather than objective. It gives detailed knowledge about the phenomena and is not able to generalize beyond the knowledge.

Case studies aim to analyze specific issues within the boundaries of a specific environment, situation or organization. According to its design, case study research method can be divided into three categories: explanatory, descriptive and exploratory.

  1. Explanatory case studies aim to answer ‘how’ or ‘why’ questions with little control on behalf of the researcher over occurrence of events. This type of case study focuses on phenomena within the contexts of real-life situations.

  2. Descriptive case studies aim to analyze the sequence of interpersonal events after a certain amount of time has passed. Case studies belonging to this category usually describe culture or sub-culture, and they attempt to discover the key phenomena.

  3. Exploratory case studies aim to find answers to the questions of ‘what’ or ‘who’. Exploratory case study data collection method is often accompanied by additional data collection method(s) such as interviews, questionnaires, experiments etc.


DEFINITION OF CASE STUDY

The case study or case history method is not a newer thing, but it is a linear descendent of very ancient methods of sociological description and generalization namely, the ‘parable’, the ‘allegory’, the ‘story’ and the ‘novel’.

  • According to P.V. Young. “A fairly exhaustive study of a person or group is called a life of case history.”

Thus, the case study is more intensive in nature; the field of study is comparatively limited but has more depth in it.


TYPES OF CASE STUDY

Six types of case studies are conducted which are as follows:

  1. Community Studies: The community study is a careful description and analysis of a group of people living together in a particular geographic location in a corporative way. The community study deals with such elements of the community as location, appearance, prevailing economic activity, climate and natural sources, historical development, how the people live, the social structure, goals and life values, an evaluation of the social institutions within the community that meet the human needs etc. Such studies are case studies, with the community serving as the case under investigation.

  2. Casual Comparative Studies: Another type of study seeks to find the answers to the problems through the analysis of casual relationships. What factors seem to be associated with certain occurrences, conditions or types of behaviour? By the methodology of descriptive research, the relative importance of these factors may be investigated.

  3. Activity Analysis: The analysis of the activities or processes that an individual is called upon to perform is important, both in industry and in various types of social agencies. This process of analysis is appropriate in any field of work and at all levels of responsibility. In social system, the roles of superintendent, the principal, the teacher and the custodian have been carefully analyzed to discover what these individuals do and need to be able to do.

  4. Content or Document Analysis: Content analysis, sometimes known as document analysis. Deals with the systematic examination of current records or documents as sources of data. In documentary analysis, the following may be used as sources of data: official records and reports, printed forms, text-books, reference books, letters, autobiographies diaries, pictures, films and cartoons etc. But in using documentary sources, one must bear in mind the fact that data appearing in print is not necessarily trustworthy. This content or document analysis should serve a useful purpose in research, adding important knowledge to a field to study or yielding information that is helpful in evaluating and improving social or educational practices.

  5. A Follow-up Study: A follow-up study investigates individuals who have left an institution after having completed programme, a treatment or a course of study, to know what has been the impact of the institutions and its programme upon them. By examining their status or seeking their opinions, one may get some idea of the adequacy or inadequacy of the institutes programme. Studies of this type enable an institution to evaluate various aspects of its programme in the light of actual results.

  6. Trend Studies: The trend or predictive study is an interesting application of the descriptive method. In essence, it is based upon a longitudinal consideration of recorded data, indicating what has been happening in the past, what does the present situation reveal and on the basis of these data, what will be likely to happen in the future.

Whatever type of case study is to conduct, it’s important to first identify the purpose, goals, and approach for conducting methodologically sound research.


ADVANTAGES OF CASE STUDY

The main points of advantages of case study are given below:

  1. Formation of valid hypothesis: Case study helps in formulating valid hypothesis. Once the various cases are extensively studied and analyze, the researcher can deduce various generalizations, which may be developed into useful hypotheses. It is admitted by all that the study of relevant literature and case study form the only potent sources of hypothesis.

  2.  Useful in framing questionnaires and schedules: Case study is of great help in framing questionnaires, schedules or other forms. When a questionnaire is prepared after thorough case study the peculiarities of the group as well as individual units, become known also the type of response likely to be available, liking and aversions of the people. This helps in getting prompt response.

  3. Sampling: Case study is of help in the stratification of the sample. By studying the individual units the researcher can put them in definite classes or types and thereby facilitate the perfect stratification of the sample.

  4. Location of deviant cases: The case study makes it possible to locate deviant cases. There exists a general tendency to ignore them, but for scientific analysis, they are very important. The analysis of such cases is of valuable help in clarifying the theory itself.

  5. Study of process: In cases where the problem under study constitutes a process and not one incident e.g. courtship process, clique formation etc., case study is the appropriate method as the case data is essential for valid study of such problems.

  6. Enlarges experience: The range of personal experience of the researcher is enlarged by the case study on the other hand in statistical methods a narrow range of topics is selected, and the researcher’s knowledge is restricted to the particular aspect only.

  7. Qualitative analysis in actual situation: Case study enables the establishment of the significance of the recorded data when the individual is alive and later on within the life of the classes of individuals. The researcher has the opportunity to come into contact with different classes of people and he is in a position to watch their life and hear their experiences. This provides him with an opportunity to acquire experiences of such life situations which he is never expected to lead.

This discussion highlights the advantages of the case data in social research. Social scientists developed the techniques to make it more perfect and remove the chances of bias.


LIMITATIONS/DISADVANTAGES OF CASE STUDY METHOD

  1. Subjective bias: Research subjectivity in collecting data for supporting or refuting a particular explanation, personal view of investigation influences the findings and conclusion of the study.

  2. Problem of objectivity: Due to excessive association with the social unit under investigation the researcher may develop self-justificatory data which are far from being factual.

  3. Difficulty in comparison: Because of wide variations among human beings in terms of their response and behaviour, attitudes and values, social setting and circumstances, etc., the researcher actually finds it difficult to trace out two social units which are identical in all respects. This hinders proper comparison of cases.

  4. A time, energy and money consuming method: The preparation of a case history involves a lot of time and expenditure of human energy, therefore, there is every possibility that most of the cases may get stray. Due to such difficulties, only a few researchers can afford to case study method.

  5. Time span: Long time span may be another factor that is likely to distort the information provided by the social unit to the researcher.

  6. Unreliable source material: The two major sources of case study are: Personal documents and life history. But in both these cases, the records or the own experience of the social units may not present a true picture. On the contrary, the social unit may try to suppress his unpleasant facts or add colour to them. As a result, the conclusions drawn do not give a true picture and dependable findings.

  7. Scope for wrong conclusions: The case study is laden with inaccurate observation, wrong inferences, faulty reporting, memory failure, repression or omission of unpleasant facts in an unconscious manner, dramatization of facts, more imaginary description, and difficulty in choosing a case typical of the group. All these problems provide the researcher with every possibility of drawing wrong conclusions and errors.


Conclusion

Case studies are complex because they generally involve multiple sources of data, may include multiple cases within a study and produce large amounts of data for analysis. Researchers from many disciplines use the case study method to build upon theory, to produce new theory, to dispute or challenge theory, to explain a situation, to provide a basis to apply solutions to situations, to explore, or to describe an object or phenomenon. The advantages of the case study method are its applicability to real-life, contemporary, human situations and its public accessibility through written reports. Case study results relate directly to the common readers everyday experience and facilitate an understanding of complex real-life situations.

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Reference

Research Methodology Methods and Techniques~C. R. Kothari (p.113) - Link

Fundamental of Research Methodology and Statistics~Yogesh Kumar Singh (Chapter–10: Case Study Method p. 147) - Link

Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches~W. Lawrence Neuman (p.42) - Link

The Basics of Social Research~Earl Babbie (p.280) - Link

Social Science Research Principles, Methods, and Practices~Anol Bhattacherjee (93) - Link

PREPARING A CASE STUDY: A Guide for Designing and Conducting a Case Study for Evaluation Input - Link

A Case in Case Study Methodology - Link

Case Study Method - Link1 & Link 2

Unit-4 Case Study - Link

Case study as a research method - Link

Case_Study~Tanya Sammut-Bonnici and John McGee - Link

Friday, 23 April 2021

Questionnaire: Types, Advantages and Disadvantages

Questionnaire provides the most speedy and simple technique of gathering data about groups of individuals scattered in a wide and extended field. In this method, a questionnaire form is sent usually by post to the persons concerned, with a request to answer the questions and return the questionnaire.

  1. According to Goode and Hatt, “It is a device for securing answers to questions by using a form which the respondent fills in himself”.
  2. According to G. Lundburg, “Fundamentally, the questionnaire is a set of stimuli to which illiterate people are exposed in order to observe their verbal behaviour under social stimuli.”
  3. According to G. A. Lundberg, “Fundamentally the questionnaire is a set of stimuli to which illiterate people are exposed in order to observe their verbal behavior under these stimuli”.

TYPES OF QUESTIONNAIRES

Questionnaire provides the most speedy and simple technique of gathering data about groups of individuals scattered in a wide and extended field. In this method, a questionnaire form is sent usually by post to the persons concerned, with a  request to answer the questions and return the questionnaire.

There is a vast variety of questionnaires that have been classified in several ways. P. V. Young has confined all the major types of questionnaires into three type’s viz. structured, unstructured and pictorial questionnaire.

1. Structured Questionnaires: According to P.V. Young structured questionnaires are those which pose definite, concrete and pre-ordained questions, i.e., they are prepared in advance and not constructed on the spot during the questioning period.

This questionnaire uses highly standardized techniques and set of pre-determined questions. It includes both closed and open ended questions.

  • Closed Ended Questions: It is used when categorized data are required or when the researcher want to make various classifications for his study.

Example of closed end question is: “How many from your family are educated?” Only one/two/three/four/five or more than five.

Here the respondent goes through all those given responses and chooses one which is true for his situation.

  • Open Ended Questions: The open ended responses are free and spontaneous expression on the part of the informant who is not limited in his replies to a particular question posed on him.

Example of open ended question is: “What are you thinking about the educational qualification of your family members?”.

Here the subject can write freely and frankly their concrete views with no directions from the researcher. The open-ended responses are used chiefly for intensive studies of a limited number of cases or for preliminary exploration of new problems and situation.

2. Unstructured Questionnaires:Unstructured questionnaires are frequently referred to as ‘interview guides’, also aim at precision and contain definite subject matters area, the coverage of which is required during the interview. The researcher is also having a greater freedom to ask any supplementary question of the respondents.

This is characterized by a greater flexible approach in questioning the respondents. It is of a non-directive type which involves relatively much less standardization of techniques and operation. Here the respondents have the freedom to express any event that seems significant to them, to give their own definition of an event or a situation and to narrate any particular incident of his life.

3. Pictorial questionnaire: Pictures have been used in some questionnaires in order to promote some interest and motivation among the respondents for answering the questions. It is useful for those respondents who are least educated. Pictorial techniques have been used extensively in studies of social attitudes and prejudices in children.

Thus, a questionnaire helps us to provide the speediest and simple technique of gathering data about groups of individuals scattered in a wide and extended field.


ADVANTAGES OF QUESTIONNAIRE

The questionnaire is regarded as the most useful research tool. As an instrument of science, it has great potentialities when it is properly used. If it is eliminated, progress in many areas of research would be greatly handicapped. The following are the chief advantages –

  1. Economical: It is an economical way of accumulating information. It is economical both for the sender and for the respondent in time, effort and cost. The cost of conducting the study with the help of questionnaire method is very low. In questionnaire the researcher has to spend for paper printing and postage only. There is no need to visit each and every respondent personally. So it does not require high cost for conduct of the research.
  2. Accessibility to widespread respondents: When the respondents are separated geographically, they can be reached by correspondence which saves travel cost.
  3. Rapidity: Replies may be received very quickly in questionnaire method. In this case there is no need to visit the respondent personally or continue the study over a long period.
  4. Suitable in Special Type of Response: The information about certain personal, secret matters can be best obtained through questionnaire method. For example, information about a sexual relationship, marital relationship, secret desires etc., can be easily obtained by keeping the names of the respondents anonymous.
  5. Repetitive Information: Compared to other methods like schedule, interview or observation, questionnaire method is regarded as more useful and cheap, where the repetitive information has to be collected at regular interval.
  6. An Easier Method: Questionnaire is comparatively an easier method to plan, construct and administer. It does not require much technical skill or knowledge.
  7. It Puts Less Pressure on the Respondents: It puts less pressure on the respondents for immediate response. He can answer it at his own leisure, whereas interview or observation demands specific fixation of time and situation.
  8. Uniformity: It helps in focusing the respondent’s attention on all the significant items. As it is administered, in a written form, its standardized instructions for recording responses ensure some uniformity. Questionnaire does not permit much of variation.
  9. Useful Preliminary Tool: Questionnaire may be used as a preliminary tool for conducting a depth study later on by any other method.
  10. Greater Validity: Questionnaire has some unique merits as regards validity of information. In methods like interview and observation, the reliability of responses depends on the way the investigator has recorded them. Here they may present biased or prejudiced information of their own. But in questionnaire method, the responses given by the subjects are available in their own language and version. Therefore, it cannot be wrongly interpreted by the researcher.
  11. Greater Anonymity: Questionnaire ensures anonymity to its respondents. The respondents have a greater confidence that they will not be identified by anybody for giving a particular view or opinion. They feel more comfortable and free to express their view in this method.
  12. Most Flexible Tool for Data Collection: Questionnaire is no doubt the most flexible tool in collecting both quantitative and qualitative information.

DISADVANTAGES OF QUESTIONNAIRE

  1. The mailed questionnaires can be used only for educated people. This restricts the number of respondents.
  2. The return rate of questionnaires is low. The common return rate is 30 to 40 per cent.
  3. The mailing address may not be correct which may omit some eligible respondents. Thus, the sample selected many a time is described as biased.
  4. Sometimes different respondents interpret questions differently. The misunderstanding cannot be corrected.
  5. There may be bias in the response selectivity because the respondent having no interest in the topic may not give response to all questions. Since the researcher is not present to explain the meaning of certain concepts, the respondent may leave the question blank.
  6. Questionnaires do not provide an opportunity to collect additional information while they are being completed.
  7. Researchers are not sure whether the person to whom the questionnaire was mailed has himself answered the questions or somebody else has filled up the questionnaire.
  8. Many questions remain unanswered. The partial response affects the analysis.
  9. The respondent can consult other persons before filling in the questionnaire. The responses, therefore, cannot be viewed as his opinions.
  10. The reliability of respondent’s background information cannot be verified. A middle-class person can identify himself as rich person or a person of intermediate caste can described himself as upper-caste person.
  11. Since the size of the questionnaire has to be kept small, full information cannot be secured form the respondents.
  12. There is lack of depth or probing for a more specific answer.