When you conduct research, gathering data through surveys and journals is essential to ensure that there are no flaws in the research. Primary data and secondary data are crucial elements of research. While some people rely on secondary data, many believe that primary data is more persuasive and helps get first-hand experience.
What is Primary Data?
Primary data is the data or responses collected by the researcher. Researchers usually design survey forms to collect required data from the responders directly. It is also known as raw data.
Primary Data Sources
There are multiple sources of primary data besides questionnaires. These include
- Focus groups
All these sources collect data according to the nature of your results and required information. Besides primary data, secondary data is also when collecting facts for publishing journals.
What is Secondary Data?
Before we discuss why primary data is beneficial, it is important to know about secondary data. Secondary data is the one that reaches you through someone else. It may be a research paper or a survey by another researcher. In simple words, data that another person collects is called secondary data.
Advantages of Primary Data
As primary data is obtained directly from the source, it is specific to the topic. You do not have to run through several papers to find that one topic you are looking for. The specificity of the data enables you to collect data relevant to the aims and objectives of the study.
The data collected through surveys and questionnaires are in the present time and offer you complete information about the specific topic. It reflects on the thoughts of people keeping the current environmental and social factors in mind, depending on the type of research.
Conducting research on your own gives you more control over the data. Researchers can decide the number of respondents, the questions designed, the environment in which the survey is conducted, how participants are selected for the survey, sampling size and strategies, etc.
You can never be surer about anything than what you have done yourself. When you gather data first-hand with direct interviews and questionnaires, there is no ambiguity, and you can use it anywhere without thinking twice.
Acts as Secondary Data for Others
The data collected by you as primary data not only benefits you but also helps other researchers act as secondary data.
The best thing about primary data is that it is your personal property, and you have rights to them. You can either publish your data free of cost as secondary data or sell it to websites. Your work will be credited to you and referenced where used. It is a great way to have work published under your name that you may use sometime in the future again.
Is primary Data Better than Secondary Data?
Considering the differences between primary and secondary data, both have pros and cons. Both are important when conducting detailed research, and you may need to use both sources to design thorough research.
While primary data is first-hand and offers accurate information, it takes more time and effort to carry out surveys. Furthermore, primary data also costs more than taking information from secondary sources. However, it is more reliable and accurate than secondary data, and researchers believe it is worth the effort.
The Bottom Line
Primary and secondary data are both important sources of information when writing a research paper. Primary data is accurate, up-to-date, specific, and offers you better control over the survey. It also enables you to have rights over your collected data and acts as secondary data for other researchers.
Matthew is a Co-Founder at BusinessFinanceArticles.org. Matthew was a floor manager at a local restaurant in Wales. He lost his job after the pandemic and took initiative to make a team and start the project.