Definition: The Census Method is also called as a Complete Enumeration Survey Method wherein each and every item in the universe is selected for the data collection. The universe might constitute a particular place, a group of people or any specific locality which is the complete set of items and which are of interest in any particular situation.
The census method is most commonly used by the government in connection with the national population, housing census, agriculture census, etc. where the vast knowledge about these fields is required. Whenever the entire population is studied to collect the detailed data about every unit, then the census method is applied.
One of the major advantages of census method is the accuracy as each and every unit of the population is studied before drawing any conclusions of the research. When more and more data are collected the degree of correctness of the information also increases. Also, the results based on this method are less biased.
The census method can be applied in a situation where the separate data for every unit in the population is to be collected, such that the separate actions for each is taken. For example, the preparation of the voter’s list for election purposes, income tax assessment, recruitment of personnel, etc. are some of the areas where the census method is adopted. This method can be used where the population is comprised of heterogeneous items, i.e. different characteristics.
Though the census method provides a complete data of the population under study, it is very costly and time-consuming. Often, this method is dropped down because of these constraints and the sampling method, where certain items representative of the larger group, is selected to draw the conclusions.