After the collection of the data has been done, it has to be then processed and then finally analyzed. The processing of the data involves editing, coding, classifying, tabulating and after all this analyzation of the data takes place.
The various aspects of the data processing can be studied as follows
1. Editing of data: – This aspect plays a very vital role in the detection of the errors and omissions and then helps to correct these errors. By this step, there occurs a large amount of increase in the degree of accuracy, consistency and homogeneity. By this method, coding and tabulation of the data is done and also scrutiny in a very careful manner of the completed questionnaires takes place.
Editing of the data can be done in the following two stages:-
• Field Editing – In this step, the reporting firms are reviewed by the investigator and then the translation of what the latter has noted in the abbreviated form takes place. This stage of editing, views writing of the individuals and proper care is taken during this step, in order to avoid correction of the errors simply by the guess work.
• Central Editing – This step is done after the completion and the return of all the forms of schedules to the headquarters. In this type of editing, edition of all the forms is done carefully and thoroughly by a single person only in a small study and by a small group of persons in case of a large study. The errors may be corrected by the editor and he should be aware of the various instructions and the codes that are given to the interviewers while editing.
2. Coding of Data: – This step involves assignment of some symbols, either alphabetical or numerals or both, to the answers.By doing this coding of the data, analysation of the data can be performed in a much efficient manner but a very vital point to be kept in mind here is that there should be no errors while assigning the codes or should be at the minimum possible level.
3. Classification of Data: – The step of classification in general terms can be defined as the arrangement of the data into groups and classes depending on the resemblance and the similarities. With the help of the classification of the data, the entire data can be condensed and this condensation can be done in such an elegant way that the various important characteristics can be very easily noticed. The various features of the variables can be compared and the data in a tabular form can be prepared.
With the classification of the data, one can highlight the salient characteristics of the data at a glance.
Types of Classification –
a. Geographical Classification – Here classification of data takes place on the basis of a particular area or a particular region. For e.g. when we consider production of wheat state wise, this type of classification refers to the geographical classification.
b. Chronological classification – This type of classification involves classification of the data on the basis of the time of its occurrence.
c. Qualitative classification – Here classification of data takes place on the basis of some of the features, which are not having the ability of measurement. In a dichotomous or a simple type of the classification the division of the attribute or the feature takes place and two classes are formed after the division. One has the ability of possessing the attribute while the other does not possess the attribute.
d. Quantitative classification – In quantitative classification, the classification is done based on the attributes or the features that can be measured. Quantitative data can be further divided into two stages, namely discrete and continuous.
For a classification to be good in nature and working, it must possess the following set of features –
1. Data should be classified in such a way that it can be easily altered or changed with time, depending on the various situations and environment.
2. Classification of the data should be such that the data should be objective oriented.
3. A classification should never be rigid in nature, as in the case of the presence of rigidity, the classification of the data will not be able to correct the results.
4. Data classification should always be simple in nature and should also be very clear.
5. Should also be homogeneous i.e. data being kept in a particular class should be homogeneous in nature.
6. Stability forms a very major and a critical feature that should be present in a classification for it to be a good one. Stability in classification can be only achieved if minimum numbers of the changes are done in the data.
4. Tabulation of the Data – Classification of the data and the tabulation of the data have been observed to be interrelated. In this step of the tabulation of the data, data after it has been classified is then arranged in the form of the tables.
In general terms, it can be said that the tabulation of the data involves orderly arrangement of the data in columns and the rows and this step takes place after the classification of data has been done.
This step acts as the final step in the collection and compilation of the data and tabulating helps a great deal in the condensation of the data and also in the analysation of the relations, trends etc.. Tabulation can be of two types simple or complex.
Simple tabulation has the ability to answer questions based on one characteristic of the data while in the case of the complex tabulation two way tables or the three way tables are obtained two way tables are those which are having the ability to give information about two characteristics of the data and in the same way the three way tables are those which give information about three features of the data. But a very essential point to be kept in mind here is that in both these tables the characteristics should be interrelated.
Characteristics of a table –
1. Should be given a particular number, distinct in nature which will help in its easy reference.
2. Should have a clear and concise title and the title should always be above the body of the table.
3. Should be given captions and stubs, which should be clear and concise and easy to follow.
4. Units of measurements that may be used should always be indicated.
5. Should be relevant to the requirements of the research study.
6. Should be logical, clear and simple.
7. No abbreviations should be used.
8. Information about the source from where the data has been taken should be provided at the bottom of the table.
9. Should be very accurate in nature.
10. Explanatory footnotes with the help of reference symbols should be provided beneath the table.
Types of table –
1. Frequency table – This type of table is the simplest of all the other types of the table. This type of the table consists of the two columns. In one column, qualities or values of the different attributes are entered and in the other column, frequency of the occurrence against each category is entered.
2. Response table – In this type of the table, an answer table by the informant is recorded and this type of table involves the indication of the reaction in a positive or a negative manner.