Market Research is conducted by large companies for introducing new products and also for existing products once in a few years as to how they are faring as compared to their competitors.
Entering data into the Computer: After the editor has reviewed the individual responses to all questions and has assigned a numerical code to each response, those codes will be available when the data on the completed questionnaires are to be entered into the computer. This is accomplished by transferring the codes into the computer’s memory space or onto computer tapes or cards in preparation for computer tabulation. Virtually all studies and certainly all large studies are now computer-tabulated. Computers are used because it is faster to tabulate by computers than to do it manually, it is more economical than tabulating by hand, computer tabulation is more accurate than hand tabulation and computers are absolutely necessary when sophisticated calculations and tabulations are to be made. Because of these advantages, the following deliberations will be concerned with computer tabulation rather with manual tabulation.
All the users can think of computer memory space as a sheet of paper with a number of rows and a number of columns. Data is stored in the rows and columns in some organized manner. Typically, one row of space is assigned to the data from each questionnaire. There will be at least 80 columns and often 200 or more columns available for storing data. One or more of the columns should be reserved for each question on the questionnaire, and this column reservation scheme should be identical for all questionnaires.
After the response to each question on a questionnaire has been coded, the codes are entered into their appropriate columns. Typically this is accomplished by either typing or a key punching operation quite similar to a person’s typing the coded numbers in rows and columns on a sheet of paper.
Example: An automobile driving survey includes a dichotomous question (Do you have a valid driver’s license?): a multiple choice question (Is the car you drive most frequently American made, European made, or Japanese made?); and an open question (How many thousands of miles did you drive your automobile last year?). Researchers wished to record the exact answers to the last question, to the nearest thousand miles.
Answers to the first two of these questions are to be recorded in columns 20 and 40, respectively of computer memory space, while answers to the third question are to be recorded in columns 60 and 61. If the first respondent answered “Yes” to the driver’s license question, a “1” would be entered into column 20 of the first row of computer memory space. (A “2” would be entered if the respondent answered “No”) Similarly a “1” or a “2” or a “3” would be entered into column 40 of the first row, depending on how the first respondent answered the multiple choice question regarding where the car was made. If the first respondent reported driving 22,000 miles last year, a “22” would be entered into columns 60 and 61 of the first row of computer memory space. (If the respondent drove only 6,000 miles last year, a “06” would be entered into columns 60 and 61).
This procedure would be continued for all questions on the questionnaire until the coded data for the first respondent has been entered into the first row of the computer’s memory space. The procedure would then be repeated for the second respondent using the second row and for the third respondent using the third row, and so on.
Data entry is likely to become more efficient in the future as new technologies become available.
Computer tapes of data are very similar to data stored in computer memory space. Users can think of a computer tape of data as a tape constructed by attaching the second row of data from a computer memory space to the end of first row from the same computer memory space. The third row of data from the same computer memory space is attached to the end of the second row of data, and so on.
In short it is easier this way to tabulate the data than manually doing it. The market research results thus obtained through the computer will be more convenient and accurate for concluding and giving a direction for the next action plan.