Data is required to make a decision in any business situation. The researcher isfaced with one of the most difficult problems of obtaining suitable, accurate andadequate data. Utmost care must be exercised while collecting data becauseCollection of Data4 5the quality of the research results depends upon the reliability of the data.Suppose, you are the Director of your company. Your Board of Directors hasasked you to find out why the profit of the company has decreased since thelast two years. Your Board wants you to present facts and figures. What areyou going to do?The first and foremost task is to collect the relevant information to make ananalysis for the above mentioned problem. It is, therefore, the informationcollected from various sources, which can be expressed in quantitative form, fora specific purpose, which is called data. The rational decision maker seeks toevaluate information in order to select the course of action that maximizesobjectives. For decision making, the input data must be appropriate. Thisdepends on the appropriateness of the method chosen for data collection. Theapplication of a statistical technique is possible when the questions areanswerable in quantitative nature, for instance; the cost of production, and profitof the company measured in rupees, age of the workers in the companymeasured in years. Therefore, the first step in statistical activities is to gatherdata. The data may be classified as primary and secondary data. Let us nowdiscuss these two kinds of data in detail.3.3 PRIMARY AND SECONDARY DATAThe Primary data are original data which are collected for the first time for aspecific purpose. Such data are published by authorities who themselves areresponsible for their collection. The Secondary data on the other hand, arethose which have already been collected by some other agency and which havealready been processed. Secondary data may be available in the form ofpublished or unpublished sources. For instance, population census datacollected by the Government in a country is primary data for that Government.But the same data becomes secondary for those researchers who use it later.In case you have decided to collect primary data for your investigation, youhave to identify the sources from where you can collect that data. For example,if you wish to study the problems of the workers of X Company Ltd., then theworkers who are working in that company are the source. On the other hand,if you have decided to use secondary data, you have to identify the secondarysource who have already collected the related data for their study purpose.With the above discussion, we can understand that the difference betweenprimary and secondary data is only in terms of degree. That is that the datawhich is primary in the hands of one becomes secondary in the hands ofanother.