What is Secondary Research? Methods, Purpose & Example

21 Oct 2023 532
Everything About Secondary Research

Sometimes, you do not have enough time, skills or money to gather information for your research, so it is the best time to conduct secondary research. It will save you from spending a lot as here, the data is readily available to use. Thus, this is the most preferred type for students to collect the necessary information. But before you learn anything else, you need to have an overview of this method of conducting research.

What is Secondary Research? A Description

Secondary research is one of the common methods of conducting research used to gather relevant and needed data by the writer. It is also termed desk research in simple words. Thus, to describe secondary research, we can say that it is a method of research that includes compiling existing information from several sources. Contrary to the primary sources of research, secondary methods need direct contact with the researchers to collect the required data.

Now, the question may arise: how do you find a credible source to fetch the information you need? So, to analyse the authenticity, you need to check the information with other sources as well, and secondly, you need to check the list of references provided by the author. Thus, this makes you trust a source more. Moreover, to ease the process, you can hire an expert form the dissertation writing services, who can ace it smoothly. So, you have got an idea of what a secondary source actually is. Thus, it is time to get along with the importance of having a clearer vision.

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Why is Secondary Research Important? The Purpose

secondary research methods

After learning the definition, it is crucial to have an idea of what is the purpose of using secondary sources over primary ones. Thus, in this section, you will discover the factors for which you need to collect only the secondary data:

  • Secondary collected data helps you to fill the gaps that might be there in your current research.
  • It becomes the building block for the primary research as you do not have to begin from scratch.
  • It can help you refine your existing data collected by clarifying it.
  • It will help you to generate credible data as you will be gathering it from authentic sources only.

These are some of the factors that make secondary research an effective method of collecting data. After exploring the purpose of secondary research, it is time to move ahead and learn about the different methods of it.

What Are the Secondary Research Methods?


Until this section, you have an idea about the basics of the secondary research methods you need to use for collecting the required information regarding your topic. So, now it is time to know the secondary data collection methods you can use for your research.

However, before you jump onto the sources, you need to learn the types of secondary research. So, there are two secondary research data that are used to collect the needed information. In other words, they are divided into two parts that are:

  • Internal Data: It is a fact that you will look into your institute or the organisation first while looking for secondary data, right? Thus, this is the internal data in research. Moreover, this data can give a competitive edge as you are the owner of the data collected. Besides this, if you do not have performed the research by yourself, then also it is known as secondary data.
  • External Data: Information that has been published outside of your organisation is external data. Moreover, in such a case, the data is not your ownership, and you might have to get permission to use it. Furthermore, this data is valuable when you need information on a new topic or need to fill knowledge gaps.

So, these are the types into which secondary data is divided. Moving ahead, it is time to learn the data types from where you can find this information.

1. Literature Review

A literature review is a survey of the already existing literature or the scholarly sources available on the topic you are working on. These are used to have an overview of the pre-existing knowledge to evaluate the related themes as well. Moreover, it also allows you to discover the research gaps and debates in the study you are conducting. Furthermore, this will help you to construct a strong foundation for your research. There are several types of literature review that you can use to gather secondary data.

Narrative Literature

It has the purpose of summarising and analysing the body of literature. To do this, you have to present the background of the research to highlight any new insights.

Systematic Literature

It needs thorough research to review the literature as it has to give an answer to specific research questions.

Meta-synthesis Literature

It is a non-statistical procedure which evaluates the data from qualitative studies and builds on the previous interpretations.

2. Online Sources

It is one of the most commonly used and easiest methods of gathering secondary data. This is so because there is an ocean of data present on the internet that is readily available. However, you just need to download and use it in just a few clicks. Besides this, using online sources to collect information is usually free of cost or has a negligible fee to pay. The websites have a lot of data you can use per your needs and topic requirements. However, the only thing you must consider is selecting credible sources to gather the information to have authentic data for your document.

3. Case Studies

It is a detailed overview of a particular topic or subject, which is primarily qualitative in nature. These can focus on a person, place, phenomenon, concept, group or event. Hence, a case study is one of the best ways to use the existing information to get concrete and thorough knowledge about a subject. Furthermore, through these, you can either aim at a single case which explores a specific subject in detail, or you can aim at multiple cases with several ones to have a comparison. However this might be a tricky way to gather data, but by getting help from assignment writing services, you can ace it smoothly.

4. Govt Agencies

Several government agencies maintain statistical data or archives databases from which you can get a lot of information for your research. However, you can use them for free as you have already paid taxes for the same. Moreover, these are the most authentic and credible sources of data that you can get for your secondary analysis. Through these sources, you can also get the data that is collected by government officials by conducting a rigorous research process.

5. Public Libraries

Public libraries are another secondary methods of research. It is so because They have copies of all the crucial documents or previously conducted research in the particular field. Through these, you can have the information you need to conduct your study. In other words, these are the storehouses for the essential documents or the files from where the data can be extracted. Moreover, these often have a vast collection of government publications along with market statistics.

Moreover, this is not the only thing you need to get along with; rather, you must learn how to cite sources. It is so because, without giving credit, you might commit the academic crime of plagiarising the content. So, to ensure original content, you need to cite the sources in an appropriate style that your professor has suggested.

Moving ahead, learn the pros and cons that come along with the secondary analysis of information.

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research

Are you one of those who looks at both sides of the thing before using it? If yes, then you must be looking at the same for the secondary research. So, in this section, you will explore the pros and cons of it to make the wisest decision. Thus, begin with the positive side that is the advantages:

Advantages of Secondary Research

Let us begin with exploring the advantages of secondary data that will help you to gather information using this process. Although there are numerous one, but the most relevant benefits of secondary research includes:

  • It is easy to collect as it is one of the readily available sources.
  • It is mostly free of cost to use, which makes it cheaper than the primary one.
  • It is faster to collect as you do not have to wait for the responders to respond and analyse the information.
  • You can look at different sources and use the one you think is authentic.
  • It can also enable you to lead towards additional information about the particular theme.
  • Through these methods, you can set your sample on a wide population.

These are the pros of secondary research that you must know before using this as your research method. However, getting along with the negative side of the same is also necessary, so read further.

Disadvantages of Secondary Research

In this segment, you will be learning the limitations of secondary research to consider the other side of the coin. Here are some of them:

  • Secondary data might not be the latest as they were collected previously.
  • They need to be evaluated effectively for credibility and authenticity before using them.
  • A researcher does not have any control over the secondary data as they are not the owner of it.
  • This data type is not unique or exclusive, as everyone can access it without hard work.
  • These can be unreliable at times as you do not know how it was collected in the first place.

These are the drawbacks of secondary research that you need to know before using these. Hence, you are clear with both the pros and cons of secondary research, so it is time to explore the examples to have a knowledge of the same in detail.

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Secondary Research Examples for Better Understanding

After having an understanding of nearly everything about a secondary analysis, it is time to go through the examples of it for a broader vision. So, in this section, we have listed some examples of secondary research to ease your work.

  • What is the effect of shift work on human health? Perform a literature review.
  • How do industrial growth projections for a renewable energy startup?
  • Conduct a meta-analysis of cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease risk
  • Perform a literature review towards an understanding of social media use in the classroom.
  • Understanding the psychology for the third millennium: Include integrating cultural and neuroscience perspectives

These are some secondary data examples that you can refer to while conducting secondary research to have an idea of it. Moreover, you can find numerous others on our website to make your work easier. Besides this, if you are also struggling in the paper writing process, you can seek help from our research paper writing service.

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If you are still struggling with conducting effective secondary research for your academic task and have no clue how to overcome these issues, then we can help. At Assignment Desk, you will get professional guidance from the finest personnel in the field. Thus, you do not have to stress about assessing the quality of your research.

Moreover, we have a whole team of researchers, writers, and editors who are capable of drafting your entire document from scratch. Thus, hiring us will not only help you in conducting secondary analysis but also help you to ace the entire document.

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