Understanding secondary research
Secondary research, often known as desk research, is a research technique that employs already-existing data. Existing data are summarized and compiled in order to improve the overall efficacy of study.
Secondary research consists of information released in research papers and related documents. These materials can be made accessible by public libraries, websites, survey data, etc. Some government and non-government organizations also preserve data retrievable for research purposes.
Secondary research is far more cost-effective than primary research since it utilizes already-existing data, as opposed to primary research in which data is obtained directly by organizations or corporations, or by a third party on their behalf.
Examples of Secondary Research Methods
One of the reasons secondary research is so popular among corporations and organizations is its low cost. Not every organization can afford to pay large sums of money for research and data collection. Since material may be retrieved while seated at a desk, secondary research is often known as “desk research.”
Following are popular examples of secondary research methods:
1. Data available on the internet
The Internet is one of the most used sources for secondary data. On the Internet, data is easily accessible and may be downloaded with the touch of a mouse.
Existing data can be downloaded for free, or for a nominal fee. Websites include a wealth of data that businesses and organizations can utilize for research purposes. To acquire information, however, companies must only examine real and reliable websites.
2. Government and Non-Government Organizations
Some government and nongovernment organisations can also provide secondary research data. The US Government Printing Office, the US Census Bureau, and Small Business Development Centers, for instance, provide businesses and organizations with essential and pertinent information.
Downloading or utilizing data from these agencies incurs a fee. The data collected from these organizations are reliable and legitimate.
3. Public libraries
Public libraries are another excellent resource for searching for data relevant to this study. Public libraries have copies of significant studies undertaken in the past. They are a repository of crucial data and papers from which information can be derived.
These public libraries offer varied services. More often than not, libraries have voluminous collections of government publications including market information, company directories, and periodicals.
4. Educational Organizations
The need of gathering data from educational institutions for secondary research is frequently neglected. However, colleges and universities perform more research than any other industry area.
Universities mostly collect information for primary research. However, businesses and groups may seek data from educational institutions.
5. Commercial information sources
Local newspapers, journals, magazines, radio and television stations are excellent sources for secondary research data. These commercial information sources provide first-hand data on economic changes, political agendas, market research, and demographic segmentation, as well as other related topics.
The most pertinent data to a business or organization’s study might be requested. Because these sources have a greater reach, businesses not only have the potential to find prospective customers, but they may also learn about promotional channels for their products or services.
How is secondary research conducted?
The following are the steps involved in secondary research:
1. Research topic: Identify the research topic before beginning secondary research. Once this is complete, list the research’s attributes and objective.
2. Information sources: Identify the information sources that will provide the most pertinent facts and information for your investigation.
3. Collect data: Once the data collecting sources have been narrowed down, the next step is to collect any previously collected data that is closely linked to the subject. Various sources, such as newspapers, public libraries, government and non-profit organizations, etc., provide access to research-related information.
4. Combine and compare: Once data has been acquired, it must be combined and compared for duplicate and assembled into a format that can be used. Make sure to acquire information from reliable sources. Incorrect data can significantly hinder research.
5. Analyze data: Analyze obtained data to determine whether or not all questions are answered. If not, the procedure should be repeated if there is a need to delve deeper into actionable findings.
Benefits of secondary research
- The majority of the information in this study is readily available. In contrast to primary research, where data must be gathered from scratch, there are numerous sources from which to obtain and utilize pertinent data.
- This is a less expensive and less time-consuming method because the essential data is readily accessible and does not cost much to extract from reliable sources. Obtaining data requires a minimum investment.
- The information gathered through secondary research provides organizations and enterprises with a sense of the efficacy of original research. Thus, corporations and organizations can create hypotheses and assess the cost of performing primary research.
- Because data are readily available, secondary research can be conducted more quickly. Depending on the business’s aim or the quantity of data required, it can be done within a few weeks.
Drawbacks of secondary research
- Even if data is freely accessible, a credibility assessment must be conducted to determine the veracity of the available information.
- Not all secondary data sources provide the most recent reports and statistics. Even if the data is accurate, it may not be up-to-date enough to account for recent events.
- The conclusion of secondary research is derived from the aggregated results of primary research. The outcome of your research will be largely determined on the quality of primary research already conducted.