Secondary data is research data that has previously been gathered and can be accessed by researchers

Secondary data is research data that has previously been gathered and can be accessed by researchers. The term contrasts with primary data, which is data collected directly from its source.
Secondary data is used to increase the sampling size of research studies and is also chosen for the efficiency and speed that comes with using an already existing resource. Secondary data facilitates large research projects, in which many research groups working in tandem collect secondary data. The main researcher is then allowed to focus on primary research or particular areas of interest. This division of labor helps researchers learn more in less time.
Common sources of existing secondary data include data collected by government public services departments, libraries, internet searches and censuses, such as the United States Census. Companies use market research to draw on existing information from social media as a source of secondary data. Social media is becoming heavily favored in market research, as opinions are already available from millions of users on many topics and products.
The benefit of using secondary data is that much of the preliminary work is done. The data may have already been sorted in an electronic format, published and reviewed with case studies already conducted. Secondary data can quickly become more or less public knowledge through use in the media. Due to its exposure and public examination, secondary data can carry more legitimacy than primary research data and is often used as verification of primary data.
However, there are a number of potential problems in using secondary data. It can be difficult to attain secondary data that the fits exact requirements of research studies. It can also be hard to verify the accuracy of secondary data, which can also become outdated over time.
Secondary Data Collection Methods
Definition: When the data are collected by someone else for a purpose other than the researcher’s current project and has already undergone the statistical analysis is called as Secondary Data.
The secondary data are readily available from the other sources and as such, there are no specific collection methods. The researcher can obtain data from the sources both internal and external to the organization. The internal sources of secondary data are:
? Sales Report
? Financial Statements
? Customer details, like name, age, contact details, etc.
? Company information
? Reports and feedback from a dealer, retailer, and distributor
? Management information system
There are several external sources from where the secondary data can be collected. These are:
? Government censuses, like the population census, agriculture census, etc.
? Information from other government departments, like social security, tax records, etc.
? Business journals
? Social Books
? Business magazines
? Libraries
? Internet, where wide knowledge about different areas is easily available.
The secondary data can be both qualitative and quantitative. The qualitative data can be obtained through newspapers, diaries, interviews, transcripts, etc., while the quantitative data can be obtained through a survey, financial statements and statistics.
One of the advantages of the secondary data is that it is easily available and hence less time is required to gather all the relevant information. Also, it is less expensive than the primary data. But however the data might not be specific to the researcher’s needs and at the same time is incomplete to reach a conclusion. Also, the authenticity of the research results might be skeptical.