By definition, research is a systematic investigation conducted with the aim of obtaining information on a specific subject area in order to answer questions and draw conclusions. Although there are many ways to categorize research, one important distinction is “primary” vs. “secondary.”
This article will look at primary and secondary research in general, including what they are, how they vary, and further elucidate the reasons that give primary market research an upper hand over secondary. There are some fundamental distinctions between primary and secondary research.
Primary research is relatively age-old research that is conducted to gather unique data. Primary researchers use a variety of methods to perform their work. This can involve laboratory study, experimentation, and other forms of scientific research.
Secondary research refers to studies that have already been completed. It entails collaboration. Secondary research refers to studies that have already been completed. It entails gathering, synthesizing, and analyzing the information gathered by primary research methods.
Secondary researchers may use data from a variety of places, such as academic journals, science papers, textbooks, government records, meta-analyses, and research data. Taking the above conceptual understanding into consideration it will be safe to say that primary research offers a foundational prelude, on which the secondary research is then based.
Further, one of the greatest advantages of primary research is that it offers the researcher access to collect original data directly from the source, that is both existing and extremely applicable to his or her needs.
In contrast to this, secondary research is largely focused on pre-existing data gleaned from previous primary research. Secondly, a majority of scientific research is primary by definition.
However, since almost all scientific studies entail some level of assessment of existing research data, there is almost always a supporting secondary component involved. In secondary research, the issue of being able to acquire knowledge quickly and cheaply at the risk of missing necessary relevance then becomes a matter of concern.
By nature, primary research is more exploratory and hence allows you to dive through previously unanswered questions and examine issues that are unique to your business or requirement alone.
On the other hand, secondary research, being more about verifying, fact-checking can, in turn, lead to gathering tons of information which can be extremely overwhelming in time. Moreover, much of the data gathered may or may not be applicable to your case entirely.
Additionally, the details and information gathered by others in the process may be incomplete, untrustworthy, or out-of-date. To add to that, secondary data is usually older and may not be unique to the location or situation that the researcher is targeting.
He or she may use seemingly unrelated data to learn about patterns or to find a link to the current situation. As a result, primary data becomes a more precise method because we can use data that is relevant to us alone.
To top it all, in the case of primary market research the owner or proprietor of primary data is the collector, and he or she does not have to share it with other businesses or rivals. This gives you an added advantage over competitors who rely on secondary research to source data or information.
In a nutshell, primary market research is more targeted, specific, relevant, and credible as compared to secondary research with the additional perk of allowing you to enjoy the proprietary rights of the data source.