Primary-Secondary data

Primary vs secondary data

  • The method of collecting information is divided into two different sections, such as primary data and secondary data.
  • When you undertake a research study, in most situations, you need to collect the required information; however, sometimes the information required is already available and need only be extracted.
  • Based on these broad approaches to information gathering, data can be categorised as:
    1. Primary Data
    2. Secondary Data
  • As the name suggests, primary data is one which is collected for the first time by the researcher while secondary data is the data already collected or produced by others.
What is Primary Data?
  • Primary data is the data collected for the first time through personal experiences.
  • Mostly the data is collected through observations, physical testing, mailed questionnaires, surveys, personal interviews, telephonic interviews, case studies, and focus groups, etc.
  • Primary data collection is quite expensive, as the research is conducted by the organization or agency itself.
  • Which requires resources like investment and manpower. The data collection is under direct control and supervision of the investigator.
What is Secondary Data?
  • Secondary data are second-hand data that is already collected and recorded by some researcher for their purpose and not for the current research problem.
  • It is the readily available form of data collected from various sources like censuses, government publications, internal records of the organisation, reports, books, journal articles, websites and so on
  • Secondary data is less expensive rather than primary data because it is readily available form of data.
Primary vs Secondary Data

Primary Data

Secondary Data


Primary data are those which are collected for the first time. It refers to those data which have already been collected by some other person.


It is original because these are collected by the Investigator for the first time. It is not original because someone else has collected these for his own purpose.

Nature of data

These data are in the form of raw materials. These data are in the finished form.

Reliability and Suitability

This is more reliable and suitable for the enquiry because it is collected for a particular purpose. It is less reliable and less suitable as someone else has collected the data which may not perfectly match our purpose.

Time and Money

Collecting primary data is quite expensive both in time and money terms. It data requires less time and money so it is economical.

Precaution and Editing

No special precaution or editing is required while using primary data as these have been collected with a definite purpose. Both precaution and editing are essential as secondary data were collected by someone else for his own purpose.


As can be seen from the above discussion that primary data is an original and unique data, which is directly collected by the researcher from a source according to his requirements. As opposed to secondary data which is easily accessible but are not pure as they have undergone through many statistical treatments.

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