Economics: Collection and Presentation of Data: Meaning, Features and Importance

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Data means quantitative information providing facts in an aggregate manner. The information could be on anything that can be given numerically and useful for decision making. It is also called statistical data or simply statistics. Data is a plural term. The singular of data is datum.


  • Statistics are the aggregate of facts: A single fact cannot be considered as statistics or data. By giving aggregate of facts, data become meaningful as it provides scope for carrying out analysis.

  • Numerically expressed: Statistics or data are always quantitative in nature. When facts are put into a framework of numbers either through counting and calculation or estimation, these may be called data.

  • Data are affected to a marked extent by multiplicity of causes.

  • Reasonable standard of accuracy: 100% accuracy in statistics is neither possible nor desirable. What is needed and expected is only a reasonable standard of accuracy.

  • Predetermined purpose: The purpose of collecting data is already predetermined.


  • In economic planning: The data of the previous years are generally used to prepare future plan.

  • To determine national income: For calculating national income of a country various methods can be used which require qualitative information and be given with the help of data.

  • Basis of government policies: Statistical data are widely used by government to frame policies for economic development of the country.

Types of Data

On the basis of the source of collection data may be classified as:

Types of Data

Types of Data

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Primary Data

The data which are originally collected for the first time for the purpose of the survey are called primary data.

Methods of Collecting Data

  • Direct personal investigation

  • Indirect investigations

  • Through correspondent

  • By mailed questionnaire

  • Through schedules

Secondary Data

The data which have already been collected by others is called secondary data.

Methods of Collecting Data

  • Newspapers, Magazines and journals

  • Government Publications

  • International Publications

  • Reports by Committees and commissions

  • Publication by Trade Business Association