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A Study on Primary and Secondary Research Methods

What are the differences between secondary and primary business research? How do the concepts of validity, reliability and bias relate to data research?

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Primary & Secondary Sources of Information

A primary source is first-hand information from a person who witnessed or participated in an event. It may also be scientific data, statistics, or an official transcript of a government proceeding. A secondary source is a description by a person usually not present at the event and relying on primary source documents for information. Secondary sources usually analyze and interpret.

The distinctions between primary and secondary sources can be ambiguous. An individual document may be a primary source in one context and a secondary source in another. Time is a defining element. For example, a recent newspaper article is not usually a primary source; but a newspaper article from the 1860's may be a primary source for civil war research.

Some examples of primary sources:
Diaries, memoirs, letters
Official documents and records
Original manuscripts
Period newspapers
Legal cases, transcripts, minutes, hearings
Interviews, oral histories, personal narratives
Research data and reports

Why is secondary data essential in business inquiry?

Secondary data is important in research because it can be reliable, statistically significant, and cost effective. As a result, researchers should conduct thorough secondary data searches before any primary data collection procedures are initiated. This consideration will also help ensure that costly primary research endeavors are not undertaken when appropriate secondary data can help answer specific research questions.

What are the criteria for evaluating secondary data?

A primary source of data is considered to be first hand information from a personal witness or participant to an event. Secondary data on the other hand is a description by a person or persons usually not present at the event, and ...

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This posting contains an APA formatted MS Word file containing a study (with examples) on primary and secondary reearch methods.