Difference Between Primary Research and Secondary Research

Primary Research vs Secondary Research

 

Primary research and secondary research are two terms that are to be understood differently because there exists a difference between the two concepts and methods. First let us comprehend the major difference between primary and secondary research. Primary research is conducted with the help of the primary sources available whereas secondary research is conducted on the basis of some data collected from someone who had got it from some source. This is the major difference between primary and secondary research. This article attempts to elaborate this difference further.

What is Primary Research?

In primary research, the researcher usually relies on primary sources. For example, interviewing someone is primary data, and it would lead to conducting primary research because of the fact that you conduct the research from the source itself. Not only interviews, other research methods can also be used for data collection in this type of research. Some examples are observation, case studies, surveys, experiments, etc. In each situation, the researcher directly collects the data from the sample that he has chosen. Primary research is done with a lot of hard work and dedication. It is interesting to note that primary research is expensive to conduct since it involves primary sources.

A key difference between primary and secondary research is that the time taken to conduct primary research is usually long when compared to the time taken to conduct a secondary research. This is because the researcher has to collect data from the very beginning till the end without relying on other sources.

As a matter of fact, the results found from the conduct of primary research are usually known to have better quality than those found from the conduct of the secondary research. This is probably one of the reasons why people would like to depend more on the findings of primary research rather than on the results of a secondary research. Primary research is also usually detailed and elaborate since it is supposed to be both qualitative and quantitative in purpose.

Difference Between Primary Research and Secondary Research

What is Secondary Research?

Unlike in the case of primary research, in secondary research the researcher relies on secondary sources. Imagine you have written a book based on the interview that you have conducted. If somebody uses the book to prepare or write a report, then the data available to that person should be considered secondary in purpose and the research conducted by him based on the book can be called secondary research. Secondary research is not expensive to conduct since it does not involve the primary sources.

The data pertaining to secondary research is usually not very much detailed and elaborate since it involves the indirect sources. Finally, it is true that secondary research is normally presented with varied data than primary research. Secondary research is normally presented with a number of data and sources. These sources that are available already include books, periodicals published by governmental organizations, statistical data, annual reports, case studies and the like. This highlights that conducting primary and secondary research have both advantages and disadvantages. Researchers often use both categories for their research. However, having an awareness of the differences between the two can be of assistance to young researchers and students.

Primary Research vs Secondary Research

What is the Difference Between Primary Research and Secondary Research?

Definitions of Primary Research and Secondary Research:

Primary Research: Primary research is conducted with the help of the primary sources available.

Secondary Research: Secondary research is conducted on the basis of some data collected from someone who had got it from some source.

Characteristics of Primary Research and Secondary Research:

Quality:

Primary Research: The conduct of primary research is usually known to have better quality.

Secondary Research: Data gathered from secondary sources can often be of less quality and reliability.

Expense:

Primary Research: Primary research is expensive to conduct since it involves primary sources.

Secondary Research: Secondary research is not expensive to conduct since it does not involve the primary sources.

Time:

Primary Research: This can be very time consuming.

Secondary Research: This is not generally time consuming since the data has already been gathered by someone else.

 

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Schultes amazon 1940s” by Not Listed [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

2. Interior view of Stockholm Public Library By Marcus Hansson from Göteborg, Sweden (The best days are not planned) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons