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Introduction


Collection of Data

In the previous chapter, you have read about what is economics. You also studied about the role and importance of statistics in economics. In this chapter, you will study the sources of data and the mode of data collection. The purpose of collection of data is to collect evidence for reaching a sound and clear solution to a problem. In economics, you often come across a statement like,“After many fluctuations the output of food grains rose to 176 million tonnes in 1990-91 and 199 million tonnes in 1996-97, but fell to 194 million tonnes in 1997-98. Production of food grains then rose continuously and touched 212 million tonnes in 2001-02.”

In this statement, you can observe that the food grains production in different years does not remain the same. It varies from year to year and from crop to crop. As these values vary, they are called variable. The variables are generally represented by the letters X, Y or Z. The values of these variables are the observation.

For example, suppose the food grain production in India varies between 100 million tonnes in 1970-71 to 220 million tonnes in 2001-02 as shown in the following table.

The years are represented by variable X and the production of food grain in India (in million tonnes) is represented by variable Y:

Table 2.1
Production of Food Grain in India
(Million Tonnes)

x

y

1970-71

1978-79

1979-80

1990-91

1996-97

1997-98

2001-02

108

132

108

176

199

194

212

 

Here, these values of the variables X and Y are the 'data', from which we can obtain information about the trend of the production of food grains in India. To know the fluctuations in the output of food grains, we need the 'data' on the production of food grains in India. 'Data' is a tool, which helps in understanding problems by providing information. You must be wondering where do 'data' come from and how do we collect these? In the following sections we will discuss the types of data, method and instruments of data collection and sources of obtaining data.




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