Primary and Secondary Source of Data | Value of Secondary Data in business research

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Primary and Secondary Source of Data | Value of Secondary Data in business research


Sources of Data

The sources of data are classified based on the types of data. In this regard, one can categorize sources of data into two parts.
  • The primary source of data
  • The secondary source of data

Primary Source of Data

Data developed by the researcher himself for the purpose of the present research is known as primary data. Primary data is used when secondary data is not available or secondary data only is not sufficient to draw conclusions or to know the attitude and behaviour of individuals and groups. Primary data can be collected using various methods. Those methods of collecting primary data are described below:

Primary and Secondary Source of Data | Value of Secondary Data in business research

1. Interview: 

The data collection method where data are collected by asking questions orally to the respondents is known as an interview. This technique is widely used in research to collect primary data. The interview may be structured and unstructured. The interviewers may ask questions and then suggest a list of the possible answers is known as a structured interview. The interviewers may ask open questions letting them the chances to give their views are known as an unstructured or open interview.

2. Questionnaire: 

A questionnaire is a formal list of questions designed to gather responses from respondents on a given topic, issue, or event. Thus, the questionnaire is an efficient data collection mechanism when the researcher knows exactly what is required and how to measure the variables. The response obtained from such a questionnaire is used to test the hypothesis.

A questionnaire can be designed to secure a different type of primary data related to intentions, attitudes and opinions, activities or behaviour, and demographic factors. A questionnaire is a list of questions developed systematically. The proper questionnaire design is also essential for the quality of data. The keys to successful questionnaire design are order, layout, length, and appearance. Such questionnaires are delivered to the respondents personally or by mail or email and internet. Respondents fill up the questionnaire and return back to the researcher. Generally, a questionnaire is delivered to respondents personally in Nepal.

3. Observation: 

A method of collecting data where the researcher observes analyses and interprets the events or works personally is known as observation. The researcher does not ask the questions but observes the events and keeps the record of important information and facts. Besides collecting data visually, observation involves listening, reading, smelling, and touching. It provides insightful information about any product, subject, or event which helps to understand those products, subject,s and events.

It is also an important method of data collection in the field of social science. It removes the difficulties of interviews and helps to obtain a lot of information. This method is used in every scientific research. This method is particularly suitable in studies that deal with those people who are not capable of giving verbal reports or their feelings due to any reasons.

Secondary Source of Data

Information gathered by someone other than the researcher associated with the current study is known as secondary data. Secondary data are an irreplaceable element of organizational research. In every type of research. primary data cannot be used. Primary data collection is impossible when there is a lack of time and resources. Therefore, a researcher uses secondary data. A researcher can obtain secondary data from various sources. Those sources of secondary data are given below:

Primary and Secondary Source of Data | Value of Secondary Data in business research

1. Published sources: 

Various agencies like. government, non-government and private and individuals collect primary data for their research and publish such data for the knowledge of stakeholder (Concerned people or organizations). Such published data may be used by the other researchers for their purpose. These data are secondary data to the other researchers. Those researchers obtain such data in the following forms:

a. Government reports and publications: 

Government offices like Ministries, Departments, Nepal Rastra Bank, Central Bureau of Statistics, National Planning Commission, etc. publish their progress report, research report and information for the knowledge of the public in the form of books or booklets. Other researchers conduct the research using those data from books and booklets published by the government offices.

b. Publication of semi-government organizations: 

Various semi-government organizations like industrial service centre. Trade Promotion Centre, Nepal Airlines Corporation, Nepal Food Corporation, etc. publish books and reports time and again. Other researchers can use those data for their research purpose from such published books and reports.

c. Reports and publications of international organizations: 

International organizations like World Bank, International Monetary Fund and World Health Organization. UN Mission and Agencies, Asian Development Bank, International Labour Organizations, and commercial organizations publish progress report and conduct research and publish a report of such research time and again. As well they publish bulletins and books for the knowledge of the public. Other organizations and individuals use such data to conduct further research in the same field.

d. Private publications: 

Various individuals and business houses establish different organizations like FNCCI, Chamber of Commerce, Confederation of Industry, etc. Private organizations publish reports for the knowledge of the public. Private organizations conduct research in the related field and publish the report of research. Such reports are also the prime sources of information or data to others. As well the research reports and progress reports of NGOs and INGOs are also the prime source of secondary data.

2. Unpublished sources: 

Some data and information are not published after the completion of the work. Such sources of data are known as unpublished sources of data. Reports of private offices and organizations, some secret information of government and non-government organizations, a record of hospitals, schools and dissertations of students are some unpublished sources of data. It is also a major source of secondary data.

3. Computerized database: 

Computerized database information that has been made available in the computer for electronic distribution. The computerized database may be classified as online, internet or offline. The online database consists of a central data bank which is accessed with the computer through a telecommunication network. Internet database can be accessed, searched and analyzed on the internet and offline databases that make the information available on diskettes or CD-ROM disks.

Value of Secondary Data in business research

Data that are generated by other organizations or individuals are known as secondary data. Secondary data can be used for further research for several purposes. Secondary data can be used for the following purposes:

Primary and Secondary Source of Data | Value of Secondary Data in business research

1. For reliability: 

Reliability refers to the consistency and stability of the result. If the same data is used for similar research then the results of the research remain consistent and stable. Thus, a researcher uses secondary data to prove the reliability of the results of the research conducted using primary data.

2. Supplement data: 

Always the data collected from primary sources may not be authentic and correct. To test the authenticity and reliability of primary data, a researcher can have cross-checked using secondary data. For example, an organization trains its employees on the assumption that their skill and performance improves. Primary data proves the assumption of the organization but really it has been improved or not, to knöwn this fact, a researcher should see the data of sales and profit. Thus, secondary data is essential to prove the results of primary data.

3. Use for reference purpose: 

To explain the facts and information on any subject, the researcher, first of all, requires to study the published and unpublished information of organizations and individuals, Such information forms the basis of research. For example, a researcher reviews the literature to have in-depth knowledge about the subject before analyzing data.

4. For comparison: 

The researcher needs to show the quality of his work comparing with the results of previous studies. The researcher should take the help of secondary data for the comparison of research result.

5. For resolving the research problem: 

The researcher faces various problems before or during the course of conducting research. secondary data actually provides enough information to resolve the problem being investigated. It solves the problem of choosing the methodologies.

6. For collecting primary data: 

Examining available secondary data is a prerequisite to collect primary data. It helps to define the problem and formulate hypotheses. It always provides a better understanding of the problem and methodologies. Secondary data guides the researcher to find an appropriate methodology for collecting primary data.

7. For meta-analysis: 

Meta-analysis involves the process of integrating the quantitative and qualitative results of numerous research studies using various methodologies and designs which are on a similar topic. Meta-analysis uses the large secondary data bank so as to draw the pattern and results.

8. For contextual background: 

The researcher should, first of all, get information about the issues or topics for conducting further studies. A secondary source provides the background of the issues that helps to conduct further research.

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