The scheduling method is one more important method for the study of social problems. This method is in many respects close to the questionnaire method but the major difference between the two is that where as in the questionnaire method there is none to assist the respondent in filling in the questionnaires. In this method, there is an investigator who assists the informants and gives them necessary clarifications as and when required. Two methods, in many respects, are different in so far as the collection of data is concerned. A schedule is a tool or device for obtaining answers to a set of questions from the respondents or informants. The researcher or the interviewer generally fills it in himself, who sits with the informant face to face, and fills up the information supplied by him on the prescribed schedule. Both questionnaires and schedules are very similar, but they also differ in some respects. A questionnaire is sent to the respondents by mail, whereas a schedule is used directly in interviews.

A schedule is like a questionnaire, which contains a set of questions. These questions are required to be replied to by the respondent with the help of an investigator. The schedule is the name usually applied to a set of questions that are asked and filled in by the investigator in a face-to-face situation with another person.

Types of Schedules

Schedules are of different types, though the aim of all the schedules is to collect data.

1. Observation schedule

This is a type of schedule in which questions are put on a specific topic about which investigator wants to collect data and information. In this case, the respondent can be an individual or group of individuals, and the schedule is filled under specific conditions. Many times, this method is adopted to verify the information already collected.

2. Rating schedule

In social research rating schedules are used when information is to be collected about attitudes, opinions, preferences, inhibitions and other like elements and their value is to be assessed and value of each is required to be measured. These prove very useful when factors that are responsible for measuring a phenomenon are to be measured. Different scales of measurement are to be constructed for evaluation.

3. Document schedule

In this schedule whole study is based on certain schedules e.g. studies that deal with the writing of history etc. With the help of these documents, certain questions are asked about the life history of a person, and based on replies received efforts are made to construct life history (Kumar, 1997: 55).

4. Evaluation schedule

The nature and complexity of the institution decide the size of the schedule. With the help of this schedule, it becomes both easy as well as possible to study both traditional as well as immediate problems of an institution. These schedules are used to gather information about some institutions or agencies. They help us to study their immediate problems.

5. Interview schedule

The interview schedule is used for testing as well as collecting data as well as for the collection of supplementary data. The information takes the schedule with him and interviews the respondent and fills in the forms. Usually in this method, the interviewer asks certain standardized questions.

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