Maintaining & manipulating the collected data

The best thing to do is maintain an Excel sheet of the data (mostly in case of inferential studies). In the document, make the following sections:

Row:

  • Respondent number.

Columns:

  • Demographic factors (Age, Income level, Gender, Marital Status, Number of members in family, etc.)
  • Professional profile (Designation, No. of years of experience and Department).
  • Question 1 (Selected Option A/B/C?)
  • Question 2 (Selected Option A/B/C?)
  • Question 3 and so forth…

The excel sheet will make your data look organized and also stand as proof of authenticity of data collection (to some extent). It is also extremely useful in Cross-Tabulation of Data.

It is a known fact that most students fake primary data. They lack the time, money or patience to gather the responses or interviews hence opt for manipulation of data. In most cases, it goes undetected. However, for some other strict universities, students must remember the following perils of data manipulation:

  • Cross-tabulation of responses. It is extremely hard and time-taking to cross tabulate data if you haven’t actually collected it. The student will not know if Respondent A is supposed to select Option B for Question 4. This results in a less-than impressive analysis.
  • Producing proof of authenticity: it goes without saying that student must be prepared to face a panel of supervisors if any mishandling is detected.
  • The supervisor’s classic questions include: How did you manage to collect the responses in such a short period of time? How friendly/ hostile were the respondents? How did you assure them that their information will not be misused? Why didn’t you collect more responses? The student must be prepared to answer such questions.

 

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