Basis of Academic Project Preparation 2017 – SOLVED QUESTION PAPER – DIBRUGARH UNIVERSITY – Semester 6 – B.Com

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1(a) Fill in the blanks: 1×4=4

The search for knowledge through an objective and systematic method of finding a solution to a problem is_____________.

Ans. research

The _____________ data are those which are collected afresh and for the first time and thus happen to be original in character.

Ans. Primary

_____________ questionnaire are those in which there are definite, concrete and predetermine questions.

Ans. Structured.

Research report is a channel of communication the research findings to the _____________ of the report.

Ans. Readers

(b) Write true or false: 1×4=4

(i) Some people consider research as a movement from the known to the unknown.


(ii) The method of collecting information through personal interviews is usually carried out in an unstructured way.


(iii) Pilot study should be undertaken for pretesting the questionnaire.

Ans: True

(iv) Interpretation is essential for the simple reason that the usefulness and utility to research findings lie in proper interpretation.

Ans. True

Write short notes on (any four): 4×4=16

Research Design:

A research design is the arrangement of conditions for collection and analysis of data in a manner that aims to combine relevance to the research purpose with economics in procedure.

In fact, the research design is the conceptual structure within which research is conducted; it constitutes the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data.

Important features of a research design as under:

It is a plan that specifies the sources and type of information relevant to the research problem.

It is a strategy which will be used for gathering and analyzing the data.

It also includes the time and cost budgets since most studies are done under these two constraints.

Personal interview:

Personal interview method requires a person known as the interviewer asking questions generally in a face-to-face contact to the other person or persons. (At times the interviewee may also ask certain questions and the interviewer responds to these, but usually the interviewer initiates and collects the information)

The method of collecting information through personal interviews is usually carried out in a structured way. As such we call the interviews structured interviews. Such interviews involve the use of a set of predetermined questions and of highly standardized techniques of recording.

Thus, the interviewer in a structured interview follows a rigid procedure laid down, asking questions in a form and order prescribed.

As against it, the unstructured interviews are characterised by a flexibility of approach to questioning. Unstructured interviews do not follow a system of pre-determined questions and standardised techniques of recording information.

Pilot survey:

A pilot survey is a strategy used to test the questionnaire using a smaller sample compared to the plannedĀ sample size. In this phase of conducting a survey, the questionnaire is administered to a percentage of the totalĀ sample population, or in more informal cases just to aĀ convenience sample.

Advantages of a Pilot Survey

Conducting aĀ pilot surveyĀ prior to the actual, large-scale survey presents many benefits and advantages for the researcher. One of these is the exploration of the particular issues that may potentially have an antagonistic impact on the survey results. These issues include the appropriateness of questions to theĀ target population.

A pilot survey also tests the correctness of the instructions to be measured by whether all the respondents in the pilot sample are able to follow the directions as indicated. It also provides better information on whether the type of survey is effective in fulfilling theĀ purpose of the study.

Practically speaking, pilot surveys save financial resources because if errors are found in the questionnaire or interview early on, there would be a lesser chance ofĀ unreliableĀ results or worse, that you would need to start over again after conducting the survey.

d)Random Sampling method

In this technique, each member of the population has an equal chance of being selected as a subject. The entire process of sampling is done in a single step with each subject selected independently of the other members of theĀ population.

There are many methods to proceed with simple random sampling. The most primitive and mechanical would be the lottery method. Each member of the population is assigned a unique number. Each number is placed in a bowl or a hat and mixed thoroughly.

The blind-folded researcher then picks numbered tags from the hat. All the individuals bearing the numbers picked by the researcher are the subjects for the study. Another way would be to let a computer do a random selection from your population. For populations with a small number of members, it is advisable to use the first method but if the population has many members, a computer-aided random selection is preferred.

Significance of Report Writing

Research report is considered a major component of the research study for the research task remains incomplete till the report has been presented and/or written. As a matter of fact even the most brilliant hypothesis, highly well designed and conducted research study, and the most striking generalization and finding are of little value unless the findings are effectively communicated to others. The purpose of search is not well served unless the findings are made known to others. Research results must invariably enter the general store of knowledge. All this explains the significance of writing a research report.

(a) Describe the different types of research. Also discuss the objectives of research. 10×4=14

Ans: The basic types of research are as follows:

Descriptive vs. Analytical:

Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds.

The major purpose of description of the state of affairs as exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often use the term. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.

Applied vs. fundamental:

Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organization, whereas fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory.

Gathering knowledgeā€™s sake is termed fundamental research. Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research.

Similarly, research studies concerning human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human behavior, are also examples of fundamental research.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative:

Quantitative research is based on the quantitative measurements of some characteristics. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantities. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e., phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind.

For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behavior (i.e., why do people do or think certain things), we quite often talk of ā€˜Motivation Researchā€™, an important type of qualitative research. Qualitative research is especially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior.

Through such research we can analyze the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing.

Conceptual vs. Empirical:

Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, without due regard for system and theory. It is data-based research, coming up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment.

Some Other Type of Research:

All other types of research are variations of one or more of the above stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, on the environment in which research is done, or on the basis of some other similar factors. From the point of view of time, we can think or research either as one-time research or longitudinal research. In the former case the research is confined to a single time-period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several time periods. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out. Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follows case-study method or in depth approaches to reach the basic casual relation. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us, using very small samples and very deep probing data gathering devices.

Some general objectives of research are:

It gain familiarity with a phenomenon or to achieve new insights into it (studies with this object in view are termed as exploratory or formulative research studies);

To portray accurately the characteristics of a particular individual, situation or a group. (Studies with this object in view are known as descriptive research studies);

To determine the frequency with which something occurs or with which it is associated with something else (studies with this object in view are known as diagnostics research studies);

To test a hypothesis of a causal relationship between various (such studies are known as hypothesis-testing research studies).


(b) ā€œResearch design in exploratory studies must be flexible but in descriptive studies, it must minimize reliabilityā€. Discuss. 14

Ans: Research design in case of exploratory research studies:

Exploratory research studies are also termed as formulative research studies. The main purpose of such studies is that of formulation a problem for more precise investigation or of developing the working hypothesis from an operational point of view. The major emphasis in such studies in on the discovery of ideas and insights. As such the research design appropriate for such studies must be flexible enough to provide opportunity for considering different aspects of a problem under study. Inbuilt flexibility in research design is needed because the research problem because the research problem, broadly defined initially, is transformed into one with more precise meaning in exploratory studies, which in fact may necessitate change in the research procedure for gathering relevant data. Generally, the following three methods in the context of research design for such studies are talked about; (a) the survey of concerning literature; (b) the experience survey and (c) the analysis of ā€˜insight-stimulationā€™ examples.

The survey of concerning literature happens to be the most simple and fruitful method of formulating precisely the research problem or developing hypothesis. Hypothesis stated and fruitful method of formulation precisely the research problem or developing hypothesis. Hypothesis stated by earlier workers may be reviewed and their usefulness be evaluated as a basis for further research. It may also be considered whether the already stated hypothesis suggests a new hypothesis. This researcher should review and build upon the work already done by others, but in cases where hypotheses have not yet been formulated, his task is to review the available material for deriving the relevant hypothesis from it.

Thus, in an exploratory or formulative research study which merely leads to insights or hypothesis, whatever method or research design outline above is adopted, the only things essential it that it must continue to remain flexible so that many different facets of a problem may be considered as and when they arise and come to notice of the researcher.

Research Design in Case of Descriptive and Diagnostic Research Studies.

Descriptive research studies are those studies which are concerned with describing the characteristics of a particular individual, or of a group, whereas diagnostic research studies determine the frequency with which something occurs or its association with something else.

The studies concerning whether certain variables are associated are examples of diagnostic research studies. As against this, studies concerned with specific prediction, with narration of facts and characteristics concerning individual, group or situation are all examples of descriptive research studies. Most of the social research comes under this category. From the point of view of research design, the descriptive as well as diagnostic studies share common requirements and as such we may group together these two types of research studies.

The design in such studies must be rigid and not flexible and most focus attention on the following:

Formulation the objective of the study (what the study is about and why is it being made?)

Designing the methods of data collection (what techniques of gathering data will be adopted?)

Selecting the sample (how much material will be needed?)

Collecting the data (when can the required data be found and with what time period should the data be related?)

Reporting the findings.

Thus, the research design in case of descriptive/diagnostic studies is a comparative design throwing light on all points narrated above and must be prepared keeping in view the objective(s) of the study and the resources available.

However, it must ensure the minimization of bias and maximization of reliability of the evidence collected. The said design can be appropriately referred to as a survey design since it takes into account all the steps involved in a survey concerning a phenomenon to be studied.

(a) What is secondary data? Mention the various sources from where one can obtain secondary data. Discuss the essential characteristics of secondary data. 2+6+6=14

Ans: Secondary data means data that are already available i.e., they refer to the data which have already been collected and analyzed by someone else. When the researcher utilizes secondary data, then he has to look into various sources from where he can obtain them. In this case he is certainly not confronted with the problems that are usually associated with the collection of original data.

The various sources from where one can obtain secondary data are:

Various publications of the central states are local governments.

Various publications of foreign governments or of international bodies and their subsidiary organisation.

Technical and trade journals.

Books, magazines and newspapers.

Reports and publications of various associations connected with business and industry, banks, stock exchanges, etc.;

Reports prepared by research scholars, universities, economists, etc. in different fields.

Public records and statistics, historical documents, and other sources of published information.

Nowadays, data is published on the website also. For example, the official website of Reserve bank of India, National Stock Exchange, etc. most of the data is freely available and provided in Excel worksheets.

The sources of unpublished data are many; they may be found in diaries, letters, unpublished biographies and autobiographies and also may be available with scholars and research workers, trade association, labour bureaus and other public/private individuals and organizations.

The essential characteristics of secondary data are:

Reliability of data: The reliability can be tested by finding out such things about the said data: (a) Who collected the data? (b) What were the sources of data? (c) Were they collected by using proper methods (d) At what time were they collected? (e) Was there any bias of the compiler? (f) What level of accuracy was desired? (g) Was it achieved?

Suitability of data: The data that are suitable for one enquiry. Hence, if the available data are found to be unsuitable, they should not be used by the researcher.

Adequacy of data: If the level of accuracy achieved in data is found inadequate for the purpose of the present enquiry, they will be considered as inadequate and should not be used by the researcher.


(b)Discuss the role of interview in data collection. What are the merits and demerits of the interview method? 4+6+4=14

Ans: The interview method of collecting data involves presentation of oral-verbal stimuli and reply in term of oral-verbal responses. This method can be used through personal interviews and, if possible through telephone interviews.

Personal interviews: Personal interviews method requires a person known as the interviewer asking questions generally in a face-to-face contact to the other person or persons. (At time the interviewee may also asked certain question and the interviewer initiates the interview and collect the information. The method of collecting information through personal interviews is usually carried out in a structured way. As such we call the interviews as structured interviews. Such interviews involve the use of a set of predetermined questions and of highly standardised techniques of recording. Thus, the interviewer in a structured interview follows a rigid procedure laid down, asking questions in a form and order prescribed. As against it, the unstructured interviews are characterised by a flexibility of approach to questioning. Unstructured interviews do not follow a system of pre-determined questions and standardised techniques of recording information.

The chief merits of the interview method are as follows:

More information and that too in greater depth can be obtained.

Interviewer by his own skill can overcome the resistance, if any, of the respondents; the interview method can be made to yield an almost perfect sample of the general population.

There is greater flexibility under this method as the opportunity to restructure questions is always there, especially in case of unstructured interviews.

Observation methods can as well be applied to recording verbal answers to various questions.

Personal information can as well be obtained easily under this method.

Samples can be controlled more effectively as there arise no difficulty of the missing returns; non response generally remains very low.

The interviewer can usually control which person(s) will answer the questions. This is not possible in a mailed questionnaire approach. If so desired, group discussions may also be held.

The demerits of the interview method are as follows:

It is a very expensive method, especially when a large and widely spread geographical sample is taken.

There remains the possibility of the bias of the interviewer as well as that of the respondent; there also remains the headache of supervision and control of interviewers.

Certain types of respondents such as important officials or executives or people in high income groups may not be easily approachable under this method and to that extent the data may prove inadequate.

This method is relatively more-time-consuming, specially when the sample is large and recalls upon the respondents are necessary.

The presence of the interview on the spot may over-stimulate the respondent, some time even to the extent that he may give imaginary information just to make the interview interesting.

(a) What is ā€œQuestionnaireā€? What are the guiding considerations in the construction of a questionnaire? Also distinguish between a questionnaire and a schedule. 2+4+8=14

Ans: A questionnaire consists of a no. of question printed on type in a definite order on a form or set of forms. The questionnaire is mailed to respondents who are expected to read and understand the questions and write down the reply in the space meant for the purpose in the questionnaire itself. The respondents have to answer the question on their own.

Construction of good questionnaires:

The questions should be clean and brief.

The question should be valid i.e., it should elicit the info. For which the question is intended.

As for as possible, the question should be such that they can be answered in yes or no.

There should be a natural, logical order in which questions are put.

The question required calculation on the part of the questionnaire should be provided to avoid confusion.

Some questions which cross-check the info on vital issues should be included.

The questionnaires should look attractive and interesting to ensure greater response.

Difference between questionnaire and schedule are:

In case of questionnaires, it is not always clear as to who replies, but in case of schedule the identity of respondent is known.

Questionnaire methods can be used only when respondents are literate and cooperative, but in case of schedule the information can be gathered even if the respondents happen to be literate.

The success of the questionnaire method lies more on the quality of the questionnaires itself but in the case of schedules much depends upon the honesty and competence of enumerators.

In order to attract the attention of respondents, the physical appearance of questionnaires must be quite attractive but this may not be so in case of schedule as they are to be filled in by enumerator and not by respondents.

Along with schedule, observation methods can also be used but such a thing is not possible while collecting data through questionnaires.

(b) What is ā€˜samplingā€™? State the reasons why sampling is used in the context of research studies. Discuss the following methods of sampling: 2+4+8=14

a. Stratified Sampling.

b. Systematic Sampling.

Ans: Sampling is defined as the selection of some part of an aggregate or facility on the basis of which a judgment or interference about the aggregate or to validity is made. In other words, it is the process of obtaining information about an entire population by examining only a part of it.

Sampling is used in practice for a variety of reasons such as:

Sampling can save time and money. A sampling study is usually less expensive than a census study.

Sampling may enable more accurate measurement for a sample study that is generally conducted by trained and experienced investigators.

Sampling remains the only way when a population contains infinitely many members.

Stratified Sampling:

Although stratified sampling is more complex than simple random sampling, it significantly increases the statistical efficiency of sampling. The basis for using stratified sampling is the existence of strata such that each stratum is more homogeneous within and markedly different from another stratum. The higher the homogeneity within each stratum, the higher will be the gain in statistical efficiency due to stratification. A stratum can be conceived as a sub-population, which is more homogenous then a complete population. The members of the stratum are similar to each other and are different from the members of another stratum in the characteristics that we are measuring.

Systematic Sampling:

Systematic sampling proceeds by picking-up one element often a fixed interval depending on the sampling ratio. e.g., If we want to have a sample of size 10 from a population of size 100, our sampling ratio would n/N=10/100=1/10. We would therefore have to decide where to start from among the first 10 names in our frame. If this number happens to be 5, 15, 25 ā€¦ā€¦., 95 in the frame. It is to be noted that the random process establishes only the first member of the sample, the rest are pre-ordained automatically because of known sampling ratio.

(a) What is ā€˜Interpretationā€™? Why is interpretation called as fundamental component of research process? Also discuss about the steps involved in the techniques of interpretation. 2+8+4=14

Ans: Interpretation refers to the task of drawing interference from the collected facts after an analytical and/or experimental study. Interpretation is concerned with relationship within the collected data as well. Thus, the interpretation is the device through which the factor that seem to explain what was been observed by researcher in the course of the study can be better understood and it also provides a theoretical conception which can serve as a guide for further researches.

Interpretation called as fundamental component of research process are:

It is through interpretation that the researcher can well understand the abstract principle that works beneath his tinding.

Interpretation leads to the establishment of explanatory concepts that can serve as a guide for future research studies, it opens new avenues of intellectual adventure and stimulates the guest for more knowledge.

The interpretation of the findings of explain factory research study often research hypotheses for experimental research and as such interpretation is involved in the transition from explanatory to experimental research.

The steps involved in the technique of interpretation are:

Researcher must give a reasonable explanation of the relations which he has found and he must interpret the lines of relationships in terms of the underlying processes and must try to find out the tread of uniformity.

Extraneous information, if collected during the study, must be considered while interpreting the final result of research study, for it may prove to be a key factor in understanding the problem under consideration.

It is advisable, before embarking upon final interpretation to consult someone having insight into the study and who is frank and honest and will not hesitate to point out omission and error in logical argumentation.

Researchers must accomplish the task of interpretation only often considering all relevant factors affecting the problem to avoid false generalization.

(b) What is ā€˜Research Reportā€™? What points will you keep in mind while preparing a research report? Explain. 2+12=14

Ans: : Research report is considered a major component of the research study for the research study for the research task remains incomplete how the report has been presented and/or written. As a matter of fact even the most brilliant hypothesis is highly well designed and conducted research study, and the most striking generalization and finding any of little value unless they are effectively communicated to others. The purpose of research is not well served unless the intentions are known to others. Research results must invariably enter the general store of knowledge.

Some points while preparing a research report are:

While determining the length of the report one should keep in view the fact that it should be long enough to cover the subject but short enough to maintain interest.

A research report should not, if this can be avoided, be dull, it should be such as to sustain leaders interest.

Charts, graphs and the statistical tables may be used for the various results in the main report in addition to the summing of important tinding.

The layout of the report should be well thought out and must be appropriate and in accordance with the objective of the research problem.

The report should be free from grammatical mistakes and must be prepared strictly in accordance with the technique of composition of report writing such as the use of quotation, footnotes documentation, proper punctuation etc.

The report must present the logical analysis of the subject matter. It must reflect a structure in the different pieces of analysis relating to research problems .

A research report should show original and should necessarily be in an attempt to solve some intellectual problem. It must contribute to the solution of a problem and must add to the store of knowledge.

It is usually considered desirable if the report makes a forecast of the probable future of the subject concerned and indicates the kinds of research stills need to be done in a particular field.

Appendices should be enlisted in respect of all the technical data in the report.

Bibliography of sources consulted in ,must for a good report and must be given necessarily.

Index is also considered an essential part of a good report and as such must be prepared and appended at the end.

Report must be attractive and neat and clean whether typed or printed.



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