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solved assignments of Q. What are the functions of Statistics? Distinguish between Primary data and Secondary data?

Answer : Functions of Statistics
Statistics is used for various purposes. It is used to simplify mass data and to make comparisons easier. It is also used to bring out trends and tendencies in the data as well as the hidden relations between variables. All this helps to make decision making much easier. Let us look at each function of Statistics in detail.

1. Statistics simplifies mass data
The use of statistical concepts helps in simplification of complex data. Using statistical concepts, the
managers can make decisions more easily. The statistical methods help in reducing the complexity of the data and consequently in the understanding of any huge mass of data.

2. Statistics makes comparison easier
Without using statistical methods and concepts, collection of data and comparison cannot be done easily. Statistics helps us to compare data collected from different sources. Grand totals, measures of central tendency, measures of dispersion, graphs and diagrams, coefficient of correlation all provide ample scopes for comparison.

3. Statistics brings out trends and tendencies in the data
After data is collected, it is easy to analyse the trend and tendencies in the data by using the various concepts of Statistics.

4. Statistics brings out the hidden relations between variables
Statistical analysis helps in drawing inferences on data. Statistical analysis brings out the hidden relations between variables.

5. Decision making power becomes easier
With the proper application of Statistics and statistical software packages on the collected data, managers can take effective decisions, which can increase the profits in a business.

Primary Data
Primary data are the fresh data collected directly from the field. They are first-hand data.
Since primary data are collected specially for a particular purpose, extra care is taken to collect all the required data with required degree of accuracy. Primary data are reliable, complete and fresh.

Primary data are costly. Their collection consumes more time and labour than the collection secondary data, especially when the population is vast.

If an investigator collects information regarding births and deaths directly from the people, the data are primary data.

Important methods of collecting primary data are:
1. Direct personal interview.
2. Indirect personal interview.
3. Information through correspondents.
4. Method of Questionnaire.
5. Method of Schedule.

Secondary Data

Secondary data are the data which the investigator does not collect directly from the field. They are the data which he borrows from others who have collected them for some other purpose.
Since Secondary data are primarily collected for some other purpose, they may not contain all the required information. The degree of accuracy may be different. They, generally, are not as dependable as primary data.

Secondary data are cheap. Specially, when the population is vast and funds available is meager, secondary data are preferred. Collection of secondary data consumes less time and labor than collection of primary data.

If an investigator collects the required data of births and deaths from the city corporation office records, the data are secondary data.

At the time of collection of secondary data, reliability of the source and validity of the data should be verified. The data should contain all the necessary information with required degree of accuracy.

Important sources of secondary data are –
a) Published sources:
1. Reports and publications of Central and State Government departments.
2. Reports and publications of International bodies such as U.N.O., I.M.F., etc.
3. Publications of Banks, Research institutions, Administrative Offices, etc.
4. Magazines and News papers.

b) Unpublished sources:
1. Records maintained at Government offices, Municipal offices, Panchayat offices, etc.
2. Records maintained by Research Institutions, Research scholars, etc.

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