Note on Social survey and subject matter in social survey

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Social survey.

Well (1935) defined social survey as a fact-finding study, dealing chiefly with working class’s poverty, its nature and problem. But the scope of the social survey is much wider than that covered by this definition.

Social survey methods. A social survey may be occasioned simply by a need of administrative facts on some aspects of public life or be designed to, investigate cause-effect relationship or to throw fresh light on some aspects of the sociological theory. The major objective of the surveys is simply to supply information about the social status of the population. Population census, living standard surveys, labour force surveys, market research survey, opinion poses etc all come into this category of study.

Subject matter in Social surveys.

The subject matter of social surveys depends upon the nature of information to be gathered. Some of the subject matters are:

  1. Demographic characteristics.
  2. Social environment.
  3. Social activities.
  4. Opinions and attitudes.

1. Demographic characteristics.

Household compositions, marital status, fertility rate, age composition etc.

2. Social environment.

Occupations, income, housing conditions, social amenities.

3. Social activities.

Actions and behaviours of the populations such as a use of leisure time, newspaper reading, travelling habits.

4. Opinions and attitudes.

Opinion and attitudes of the people towards various social factor, motive and expectations of the people etc.

Steps in surveys.

  1. Formulation of the problem.
  2. Preparation of time schedule.
  3. ,Staffing
  4. The cost of the survey.
  5. Instruments of information collection.
  6. Choosing or respondents/Survey units.
  7. Pilot survey.
  8. Classification and Tabulation.
  9. Analysis and interpretations.

A short description of all step is discussed as below.

1. Formulation of the problem.

The first and foremost thing to be decided by the investigation is the identification of subject matter of the intended surveys. The subject matter should be.

  1. The area in which the researcher may be deeply interested.
  2. Not stray problems.
  3. Not necessary new one.
  4. Having utility and
  5. Practically feasible.

2. Preparation of time scheduling.

In every survey planning, a time schedule for completing the different phases of a survey work should be given. The time scheduling in the form of a chart or a table.

3. Staffing.

A tentative description of manpower to be utilised for the survey work should be given by their man-months utilisation. A competent statistician is always to be included in the survey team.

4. The cost of the survey.

Estimates of the costs for the different components of the survey should be given. The costs may be:

  1. Administrative cost\Salary for staff.
  2. Consultant’s fee.
  3. Field cost.
  4. Travelling and communicating expenses.
  5. Secretarial work /Report preparation.

The overhead cost of about 5%-15% is also included in the total cost for the survey to be conducted for client organisations.

5. Instruments of information collection.

In surveys, information is to be collected from the respondents. The information is collected by using following methods.

  1. Interviewing the respondents.
  2. Mailed questionnaire administration.
  3. Taking notes.

6. Choosing of respondents /Survey units.

The most important technical part of the survey work is the development of sample plan according to which units are selected. Many factors play in this respect Some of them are.

  1. Defining survey population.
  2. Testing the adequacy of the frame of the survey population.
  3. Cost/finance available.
  4. Degree of accuracy of the results

7. Pilot survey.

Before conducting the final round of the field survey, a mini-survey called pilot survey/pre-test is to be conducted. The pilot survey gives information as to.

  1. The variability of the sample units.
  2. Suitability of the methods for data collection.
  3. Non-response rates expected.
  4. Probable cost and duration of the main survey and its various steps.

8. Classification and tabulation.

Once the field work is over the data collected are classified and tabulated. This may be done either manually or by using computers.

9. Analysis and interpretations.

The various statistical measures are calculated to describe the nature of the survey population. Explorations as regards to interrelationships between various characteristics of the population are also done.

10 Report.

Finally, a report of the whole survey work is prepared as documents. The reports should include all the survey schemes, methods of analysis and the results obtained. The report is prepared in two stages.

  1. Final Report and
  2. Draft report.

The draft is the preliminary report of the survey work. The draft is prepared to experts for comments and suggestions. And finally, a report is prepared by incorporating their suggestion and comments.

Survey capabilities.

Decennial population census some of which also include information on housing are fairly well established in all most all ESCAP countries. Indeed, some countries have in adding conducted mini-census or sample censuses. Other periodical censuses such as Agricultural and Industrial activities are less common or frequently, though some countries including Nepal have undertaken them.

Most of the countries collect some price statistics and construct various price indices. However, more systematic efforts to improve enlarge these statistics are needed. The agricultural statistic in some ESCAP countries has yet to attain the degree of reliability needed by planners and policy makers.

The compilation of National account is vague in most of the countries. Many have attempted at least the principle aggregate which is required for development planning and preparation of national budgets.

There is, however, an increasing pressure from certain international Agencies and organisation, especially those that provide development assistant, for detail national account table. Some pressure often tends to distort local priorities and results in estimates of sub-standard quality due to inadequate coverage and lack of current data. Extrapolation of benchmark information from infrequently and isolated census or survey cannot provide reliable estimates.

Countries, therefore, are becoming progressively interested conducting Household sample surveys for collecting current socio-economical and demographic data. Several of them have carried out or are planning to undertake household Income-Expenditure Surveys for revising weights in their consumer price indices for gathering data needed for compilation of National Accounts.

Reference.

Kerlinger, F.N. Foundation of Behavioural Research. New Delhi: Surjeet Publication, 2000.

Kothari, C.R. Research Methodology. India: Vishwa Prakashan, 1990.

Singh, M.L. and J.M Singh. Understanding Research Methodology. 1998.

Singh, Mrigendra Lal. Understanding Research Methodology. Nepal: National Book centre, 2013.

  1. Well (1935) defined social survey as a fact-finding study, dealing chiefly with working class’s poverty,
  2. A social survey may be occasioned simply by a need of administrative facts on some aspects of public life or be designed to, investigate cause-effect relationship or to throw fresh light on some aspects of the sociological theory.
  3. A tentative description of manpower to be utilised for the survey work should be given by their man-months utilisation. A competent statistician is always to be included in the survey team.

  4.  

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