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I.8.(c) Tools of data collection:  schedules


A schedule refers to a form of Questionnaire which is generally filled in by the researcher himself.

It’s a face to face interaction in which the researcher sits with the informant, reads the questions one by one and records his response against specific questions.

Structure and preparation

  1. the schedule contains questions and blank tables and it need pre-testing for standardisation.


  1. In this type of Questionnaire the researcher may also help the respondent to understand or appreciate a particular question, may explain it and also stimulate his response if
    need be.
  2. Schedule does not suffer from the serious limitation of it’s non-applicability on the
    illiterates or semi-educated ones.
  3. The researcher finds himself enjoying a position where he can even manipulate
    a question according to exigencies of the situation.
  4. It can be used in any type of society
  5. Once the respondent agrees to be interviewed the desired information is guaranteed

Difference between a Schedule and a Questionnaire 

  1. A Questionnaire is ‘self- administered’ whereas a Schedule is a bridge between the interviewer and the respondents.
  2. In Questionnaire, a researcher may get back only a percentage of queries
    and even these may not be received within the stipulated time whereas in schedule desired information is guaranteed once the respondent agrees to be interviewed

Disadvantages and limitations

  1. The researcher can manipulate a question and the response, hence can be misleading.
  2. Time consuming
  3. lot depends on the nature and personality of the researcher
  4. difficult to find many respondents


  1. Observation schedule/guide-  The observation schedule offers the opportunity for uniform classification in recording the activities and social situations of persons or groups being observed.
    • An observation schedule usually serves several purposes :
      1. It is a specific “memory tickler”
      2. It is an objective recording of data.
      3. It is a standardising device.
      4. It aids to delimit the scope of the study.
      5. It aims to concentrate on the circumscribed elements essential to the
  2. Document schedules- These are used for recording data obtained from documents, case histories, and other materials. The document schedule should not be considered a tally sheet. A separate schedule should be used to list the pertinent points from each case record.
  3. Institutional survey or evaluation schedules- These are used to visualise the problems faced by or inherent in a given type of institution. The length of such schedules depends upon the aspects of the given situation under investigation.
  4. Interview schedule- These are used in collection of data through interviews. They help the investigator in maintaining objectivity in collection of data and avoid deviations during interview. They are used in most of the social science research studies as the investigator gets the benefits of observation, interview and schedule.

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