Dissertation Preparation And Research Methods

In contrast, secondary research involves data that has been collected by somebody else previously.This type of data is called “past data” and is usually accessible via past researchers, government records, and various online and offline resources.Primary research usually requires months spent recruiting participants, providing them with questionnaires, interviews, or other measures, cleaning the data set, and analysing the results.

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TABLE 1 outlines the differences between primary and secondary research: Whatever type of research you are conducting, always be aware of its strengths and limitations.

If you look at the table above, you should already be able to discern some advantages of secondary research.

In contrast to primary research, secondary research is easier, particularly because the researcher is less involved with the actual process of collecting the data.

Furthermore, secondary research requires less time and less money (i.e., you don’t need to provide your participants with compensation for participating or pay for any other costs of the research).

When using secondary data, however, you have an opportunity to work with immensely large data sets that somebody else has already collected.

Thus, you can also deal with longitudinal data, which may allow you to explore trends and changes of phenomena over time.

If you are reading this guide, it's very likely you may be doing secondary research for your dissertation, rather than primary.

If this is indeed you, then here's the good news: secondary research is the easiest type of research! In a nutshell, secondary research is far more simple.

For instance, members of the research team should be paid salaries. You may need to pay for office space and equipment, and compensate your participants for taking part. These costs do not exist when doing secondary research.

Although researchers may need to purchase secondary data sets, this is always less costly than if the research were to be conducted from scratch.


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