Secondary research

Secondary research occurs when a project requires a summary or collection of existing data. As opposed to data collected directly from respondents or "research subjects" for the express purposes of a project, (often called "empirical" or "primary research"), secondary sources already exist.secondary-market-research

These secondary soures could include previous research reports, newspaper, magazine and journal content, and government and NGO statistics. Sometimes secondary research is required in the preliminary stages of research to determine what is known already and what new data is required, or to inform research design. At other times, it may make be the only research technique used.

Also known as desk research

Secondary data can be collected from internal and external sources.

Internal sources

Information which is available for inside the business such as

  • Sales department records, customer records and sales reports
  • Opinions of distributors and public relations departments
  • Financial statements and records

External sources

These include:

  • Newspapers
  • Government statistics and census reports
  • Media reports
  • Market research agencies’ reports
  • Employers’ association reports

Advantages of secondary research

  • Secondary data is the most easily accessible data and saves the researcher the trouble of going through the tiresome process of collecting data personally.
  • Secondary data is readily available at cheap rates and is usually quite inexpensive.
  • Collecting secondary data and analysing it saves time and effort.
  • Secondary data is unobtrusive. It is easily available and the researcher can get it without much struggle.
  • Secondary data avoids data collection problems and it provides a basis for comparison.
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