A Brief Discussion On Primary And Secondary Sources Of Data


Data collection is a fundamental part of the research. Without data collection, no researcher can end up with an effective conclusion. It is collected data that helps the researcher in making a decision. There are different sources of data collection. You have to select on the source of data for your research work. This selection is not random, but it is your problem statement that guides you to the source of data. These sources include primary and secondary sources of data. Both of the sources have their own importance. Both of them perform well in their particular area. These sources include data in the form of facts and figures.

Furthermore, data can be in the form of different measurements. Apart from all that, an experienced researcher can get data from observations. All types of data are utilised to bring innovation in the market of research. This article aims to discuss primary as well as secondary sources of data. Let’s get started.

What is the Primary Source of Data?

A primary source of data is preferred when you are asked to come up with original data. In simple words, you can say that primary data is first-hand data that is directly collected by the researcher.

The type of primary data sources varies from objective to objective. Your research problem defines what type of primary source is best suitable to address the issue. Another factor that decides the type of primary source is the experience of the researcher. For example, observation is one source of primary data. If you have just started your career in the field of research, you cannot get the best out of the observational source. Those researchers who are experts in the field of research, only they can collect data from observation. That is how you have to be very careful while selecting one primary source of data. As per the demand of research, you can also collect data from more than one source. This technique is used to increase the accuracy of data.

What is a Secondary Source of Data?

All the sources of data that provide you second-hand data are termed as secondary. In secondary sources of data, you come up with the data that is collected by other researchers. You can use secondary data to solve the same type of research problem. Also, you can use this data for some different research problems. Just like primary sources of data, there is more than one secondary source. The data collected from primary sources can have some problems. Whenever you identify any issue in data, you have to recollect it. In this way, you end up with accurate results. On the other hand, secondary sources of data are highly reliable. Its end results and publication are proof of the accuracy of the source. However, in case of any confusion, you can get help from masters dissertation writing services.

  • What Are Examples of Primary and Secondary Sources?

Following are the examples for primary as well as secondary sources of data:

Examples of Primary Sources

In broader terms, there are two main primary sources of data. The first one includes all the sources in which you have to go and collect data by yourself. It includes the following set of sources:

  • Interview
  • Observation
  • Survey
  • Questionnaire
  • Lab performances
  • Field Experiments

In all these primary sources, you have to show your contributions. From all these sources, the most common source is the use of questionnaire. It is preferable for all the researchers who are new in this field, to go for a questionnaire. In your questionnaire, you can add close-ended as well as open-ended questions. You have to see in which way you can address the research problem effectively. You can use one type of question as well as a combination.

On the other hand, primary sources can be other areas of research. These sources include the following areas:

  • Newspaper
  • Blogs, magazines
  • Scientific reports
  • Pictures, audios and video recording
  • Letter
  • Manuscripts
  • Daily Diaries, speeches
  • A person who has witnessed anything
  • Polls for data collection

Examples of Secondary Sources

Just like primary sources of data, you can categorise secondary sources in two ways. The first category is internal sources of secondary data. On the other hand, the second category is related to external secondary sources. Both of the categories have their own importance in the field of research. Most of the researchers try to collect data from internal secondary sources. The reason behind this is the high accuracy of internal secondary sources.

These internal sources include different organisations and institutes. You may have to face so many difficulties to arrange data from internal sources. Most of the organisations keep their data confidential and do not share it at any cost. Still, you can write an application to the higher management of the organisation. There is nothing wrong to try for internal sources of data.

If we talk about external secondary sources, these are accessible sources. Here you do not have to request anyone. Also, you do not have to convince anyone. Almost all of these sources are available free of cost.

  • Journals
  • International research forum
  • National research forums
  • Data of census
  • Data for statistics
  • Scholarly websites
  • Books
  • Mentions, Reviews, Comments
  • Articles
  • Governmental sources
  • Non- governmental sources

The best thing about secondary sources is that you do not have to deal with any problem of standards. Just make sure the credibility of the source and collect data.

Final Thoughts

Just like everything else, primary and secondary both sources have some advantages as well as disadvantages. Your research purpose is to meet the designed objective. You have to see how you can meet that objective in a well-mannered way. If you select the wrong source of data, it will surely affect the quality of your work. In this way, you will end up with nothing. So, before finalising your sources of data, ask your advisor to have a look at it.


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