Data is everywhere and it is the key to unlocking insights that can help businesses make informed decisions. While primary data is collected using surveys or interviews, secondary data is data that has already been collected and can be used to gain further insights into a particular subject or industry. In this blog article, I will explore the sources of secondary data, the benefits of using it, the different types of secondary data, where to find it, how to gather it, how to analyze it, tips for working with it, the challenges of working with it, and examples of secondary data sources.
What is Secondary Data?
Secondary data is information that has been collected by someone else for a purpose other than your own. It is data that has already been gathered and analyzed for a different purpose and is then repurposed for another use. This can include data from surveys, interviews, focus groups, market research, and more. Secondary data can provide valuable insights into a particular subject or industry, as it is already organized and analyzed to some extent. It can also be used to supplement primary data, helping to provide a more complete picture of a particular topic.
Benefits of Using Secondary Data
There are many benefits to using secondary data for research. One of the biggest benefits is that it is often more cost-effective than collecting primary data. This is because the data has already been collected and organized, so there is no need to invest in the resources necessary to collect it. Additionally, secondary data can provide a more comprehensive picture of a particular topic or industry, as it is often collected from multiple sources and different types of data. This can be particularly helpful if you need to gain a better understanding of how a particular market or industry works.
Secondary data can also be used to supplement primary data. This can be especially useful if you are collecting primary data that is limited in scope. By combining the two types of data, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the topic or industry you are researching.
Types of Secondary Data
There are many different types of secondary data that can be used for research. These include census data, government data, industry reports, market research, customer reviews, and more. Census data is data collected by the government that can be used to gain insights into population trends and the characteristics of certain populations. Government data is information collected by the government that can be used to gain insights into economic issues, public health, and other topics. Industry reports are reports produced by industry organizations that provide data and insights into the industry. Market research is data collected by market research companies that can be used to gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences. And customer reviews are reviews left by customers that can be used to gain insights into customer experience.
Where to Find Secondary Data
Secondary data can be found from a variety of sources. Government websites, such as the US Census Bureau, are a great source of data. Additionally, industry organizations often produce reports that provide data and insights into the industry. Market research companies, such as Nielsen, are another source of data. These companies often collect data from surveys and other sources that can be used to gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Databases, such as the ProQuest database, are also a great source of data. This database provides access to a wide range of datasets, including census data, government data, industry reports, and more.
How to Gather Secondary Data
Once you have identified the sources of secondary data that you want to use, you can begin gathering the data. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the type of data you are looking for. For example, if you are looking for census data, you can use the US Census Bureau’s website to access the data. If you are looking for industry reports, you can search for them on the websites of industry organizations. And if you are looking for market research, you can search for it on the websites of market research companies. Once you have identified the data you want to use, you can download it and begin analyzing it.
How to Analyze Secondary Data
Once you have gathered the data, you can begin to analyze it. This can be done in a variety of ways, depending on the type of data you are working with. For example, if you are working with census data, you can use descriptive statistics to analyze the data. If you are working with industry reports, you can use market research techniques to analyze the data. And if you are working with customer reviews, you can use sentiment analysis to analyze the data.
Tips for Working with Secondary Data
When working with secondary data, there are a few tips to keep in mind. First, be sure to use the most up-to-date data available. This is especially important when working with government data or industry reports, as the data can become outdated quickly. Additionally, be sure to use data that is reliable and accurate. This can help ensure that the data you are using is providing the most accurate insights possible. Finally, be sure to use a variety of sources when collecting data. This can help provide a more comprehensive picture of the topic or industry you are researching.
Challenges of Working with Secondary Data
Although there are many benefits to using secondary data, there are also some challenges. One of the biggest challenges is that it can be difficult to find reliable and accurate data. This can be especially true for data collected from online sources, as there is no way to verify the accuracy of the data. Additionally, the data may be outdated or incomplete. This can make it difficult to gain an accurate understanding of a particular topic or industry. Finally, it can be difficult to analyze the data, as it may be organized in a way that is not conducive to analysis.
Examples of Secondary Data Sources
There are a variety of sources of secondary data that can be used for research. Government websites, such as the US Census Bureau, are a great source of data. Additionally, industry organizations often produce reports that provide data and insights into the industry. Market research companies, such as Nielsen, are another source of data. These companies often collect data from surveys and other sources that can be used to gain insights into consumer behavior and preferences. Databases, such as the ProQuest database, are also a great source of data. This database provides access to a wide range of datasets, including census data, government data, industry reports, and more.
Secondary Data also may be collected from a wide variety of sources. Broadly, we can classify these sources into two types. Such as Internal Sources & External Sources.
Internal Sources of data are those data that are originated in the organization or generated by the organization. Internally, secondary data can be collected from an organization’s own records and database.
For Example, An Accounting information system (AIS) of an organization can provide timely & accurate decision-support information. Some internal sources of secondary data are described below:
The sales records of an organization can be a vast source of secondary data. Every organization keeps records regarding Its operation e.g. sales orders received & delivered recording the cost of goods sold, preparing sales invoices, return of goods, preparing sales reports, etc.
A wide range of information can be collected from the above sources. For example, from sales orders and invoices, the following information may be obtained:
- Sales by geographical region.
- Sales by type of customer.
- Prices & Discounts.
- Average Sales by sales personnel.
- Sales personnel’s commission.
The above information is useful to identify an organization’s most profitable product & customer & this information is widely used specially incase of marketing research.
An organization’s financial data can be obtained mainly from its financial statements. The financial statements comprise income statement, balance sheet cash flow statement, notes to the financial statement & owner’s equity statement.
The above financial statements provide information regarding the financial performance & financial position of an organization that
Financial data are widely used in research especially in accounting research e.t. capital market research.
A company that keeps records regarding transport operation is efficient in determining the most profitable route or cost-effective route. Good data on transport operation enables the firm to conduct trade-off analysis & enables the firm to conduct trade-off analysis & enables the firm to have the best financial outcome.
Storage data can also be a great source of secondary data that can be used by the researcher. Information about strong cost, stock handling cost, stock out rare, etc. information one uses to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of the operation of an organization.
There is another internal source of collection secondary data e.g. an origination background information of published documents, employee records, etc.
External data are those data that are generated by an entity other than the researcher’s organization. Most of the secondary data are collected by the researcher from external sources. Some external sources of secondary data are described below:
Govt. statistics is one of the largest sources of secondary data. In every country, govt. conduct research to develop
- Population statistics.
- Agriculture statistics.
- Import/Export statistics.
- Social survey e.g. family expenditure survey.
- Production statistics etc.
Trade associations can also be a large source of collecting secondary data.
Published market research repeats and other publications are available from a wide range of organizations that charge for the information. Typically marking people are interested in consumer info and media statistics obtained from large-scale consumers or formers.
The commercial organization provides funds, for the collection of data which are
Information on a broad range of subjects is available from broadcast and print media. CNN Financial News and Business Week are valuable sources for information on the economy and many industries.
Media frequently commission research studies about various aspects of Americans’ lives, such as financial affairs, and make reports of survey findings available to potential advertisers free of charge.
Data about the readers of magazines and the audiences for broadcast media typically are profiled in media kits and advertisements.
Data such as these are plentiful because the media like to show that their vehicles are viewed or heard by advertiser’s target markets.
National & International Institutes:
There are different national & International institutes worldwide from where the researcher can collect secondary data. Some examples of such institutes are:
- Bank economic reviews.
- University research reports.
- Published journals and Articles.
- World Bank
- International Monetary fund (IMF)
- ILO etc.
Secondary data can be a powerful tool for gaining insights into a particular topic or industry. By understanding the sources of secondary data, the benefits of using it, the different types of secondary data, where to find it, how to gather it, how to analyze it, tips for working with it, and the challenges of working with it, you can unlock the power of secondary data and unlock the benefits of data collection. So, what are you waiting for? Start exploring the sources of secondary data and unlock the power of data today!