What is the Difference between Primary and Secondary Research?

Research is conducted for a dissertation to get an idea of facts and figures that will be useful on a variety of levels. Whether you are writing a dissertation or want to put together a report, research will play a key part in helping you collect information for it. There are two types of research that help in collecting data for various purposes; primary and secondary research.

While primary research is all about gathering new data that has not been collected before, secondary research is all about using the already existing data for your specific purposes.primary data can include surveys using questionnaires or interviews with groups of people in a focus group and secondary data can be getting information from books, journals or any report that has been compiled by someone else.

Difference between Primary and Secondary Research
Primary research is specifically designed to meet your unique and specific needs. The research is mainly conducted by you, or by someone who you hire specifically for the project. The research can include focus groups, surveys, interviews, and observations.

Primary research aims to answer questions that are relevant to your project. If you have been given to write a dissertation, an essay or a thesis, primary research will help you come up with answers to the questions that the topic has put forward. The best thing about using primary research for your project is that it offers more specific results and you will be able to come up with ways and means to get answers to all the research questions that have been put forward to you.

On the other hand, secondary research can be defined as an analysis and interpretation of primary research.  It uses primary research in order to interpret the results and explains the main idea or findings for working on a research paper or dissertation.

Primary research is based on raw data while secondary research is based on the analysis and interpreted information. While the former is conducted by the researcher for the sole purpose of coming up with the right insight and information about the subject and topic, the latter is conducted by someone else and it does not require the limitation of time and place where it was conducted. It could have been conducted anywhere by anyone and it can be used by anyone anywhere.

Primary data is specified according to the needs of the researcher because the techniques and the methods used are specially developed for the purpose but secondary data is no specific and in most of the cases, it is generalized data that can be used by the researchers for their particular needs.

The differences do not end here as the process of conducting primary and secondary research is also very different; while the primary method of research keeps the researcher involved and present in all the aspects, the secondary research methods do not require the researcher to play an active part as the information and data is there and can be collected by anyone who requires it.


In addition to this, the difference in costs is also very apparent. While the primary research costs more because it is more specified according to the needs of the study, secondary research does not cost more as there is nothing to be done and all the research is already there.

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