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Difference between primary and secondary data

Data can be of different types, such as secondary data, primary data, etc. Researchers have to deal with enormous data regarding their research. Research is quite a complex task. It is part and parcel of almost all the fields, and researchers have to strive hard to gather data. 

Primary Data VS Secondary Data


The data that is already available and can be collected by the researchers directly from the main source is primary data. It is indeed the primary source of data that helps the researchers compile and accomplish the research. Researchers gather the data from a direct source. Most commonly, primary data is obtained from

  • Focus groups
  • Case studies
  • Telephonic interviews
  • Personal interviews
  • Surveys
  • Mailed questionnaires
  • Physical testing
  • Observation

However, secondary data is opposite to primary data. There are no direct sources for the secondary data. Indeed, it is the data that is obtained from already available sources. The researchers have to go through multiple sources for dining the data out. Authentic data require. Hence, the researchers must spend significant time on data collection. Secondary data is indeed collected by any other person that is already available. Secondary data sources are journals, newspapers, tax records, electoral statistics, books, dissertations, etc.

Time and Money

The collection of primary data takes much of the time. For instance, if the researcher gathers the data through interviews, he may take several months to conduct interviews with the participants. It takes a long time as it is extensive. However, the secondary data is the highly economical one. It is economical and time-saving to gather secondary data.

Nature of Data

The primary data gather directly from the main source, so it is raw, and the researcher has to compile it and organize it. Such kinds of activities also take much time and attention of the researcher. In it, there is direct interaction of the researcher with the participants for gathering the data. Indeed, they collect the data based on their personal experiences and observations. Data collection is not that costly as the data assembling it. Most often, researchers have to assist statisticians in organizing or analyzing the data correctly. The secondary data is the data that is available in finished form. 

Originality: Difference between primary and secondary data

The data obtained from the primary source is the most authentic one. It is because the investigator collects the data for the first time. There is no risk of mistakes in it, and hence the data is original. However, in secondary data, the data is not original as it is being taken from already available sources.

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Reliability and Sustainability

Primary data is papular to be highly sustainable and reliable. Whenever it is about the inquiry of the data, then primary data is the one that sustains more and is papular to be amazingly reliable. However, secondary data is less sustainable and less reliable. It is because of the gathering of data from other sources that may not match the desired purpose.



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