We will write a custom Essay on Primary and Secondary Data Use specifically for you
301 certified writers online
The type of data used in market research influences the cost and quality of the result. Primary data is data obtained first hand from the selected sample for specific research while secondary data is data obtained from published sources collected for reasons not linked to the current study (Wrenn et al., 2006, p.71). Primary data is up to date and reliable while secondary data is easily available and utilized in forecasting and analyzing primary data, but it is not a proper fit for current market research.
This paper will explore the general characteristics of primary and secondary data and instances where they are appropriate to use.
Key Learning Points
The key learning objective is: a market researcher should have a clear understanding of market research project and the characteristics of primary and secondary data to be in a position to choose the most appropriate data type.
The main techniques of collection primary data are interviews, surveys, or contact groups. These techniques of data collection are fairy complex and time-consuming that makes the unit data cost to be relatively high. Therefore primary data is costly.
Secondly, primary data is reliable as it often represents current market information and trend. Also, primary data are more specific thus useful in analyzing the specific problem, for example; demographics and socio-economic characteristics, intention, awareness or motives, and behavior. Importantly, primary data is exclusive to an organization conducting market research as a result; it gives a competitive edge over competitors.
Gilligan and Hird argue that sampling problems are a major limitation of primary data (1986, p.83). Sources of primary data are limited to a selected research sample. Subsequently, results drawn from primary data obtained from the wrong sample are biased or subjective.
In most cases, secondary data is less costly or free since it eliminates design and time cost. Nevertheless, it is often out of data and thus suitable for indirect use only. Another characteristic of secondary data is that it is flexible and available in different variety. Additionally, secondary data is available from several sources; thus; it is easy to make a comparison. However, it may be difficult to ascertain the quality and accuracy of some sources of secondary data (Wrenn et al., 2006, p.71). Often secondary data is a poor fit.
Primary data is more suitable whenever conducting market research that desire specific results in a specific field. Also, this data is appropriate if there are sufficient cost and time budgets. Besides, primary data is more suitable if there are no existing secondary data suitable for particular market research.
Secondary data is more appropriate in research studies if data cannot be collected using conventional primary data collection techniques. Some data is only available from secondary sources only. Also, in cases of limited time and cost budget, secondary data is more appropriate than primary data. When laying out the background, designing, and planning of a market research secondary data play a significant role.
According to Zikmund and Babin (2006), secondary data has three broad objectives, namely fact-finding, model building, and database marketing. Finally, secondary data is useful when interpreting and analyzing primary data.
Gilligan, C. & Hird, M. (1986). International marketing: strategy and management. Australia:Taylor & Francis.
Wrenn, B., Stevens, R. & Loudon, D. (2006). Marketing research. NY: Psychology Press.
Zikmund, W., and Babin, B. (2006). Exploring marketing research. OH:Cengage Learning.