Secondary Market Research: Advantages and Disadvantages

What is Secondary Market Research and Data?

Secondary data is the data collected by someone else other than the researcher himself. This data can be gathered from government records, books, trade associations, national or international institutes, statistics agencies, etc. Research done using this readily available information is called Secondary Market Research.

Factors to be considered while collecting data from secondary sources :
1)  Accuracy of data: One should evaluate the credibility of source of data and methods used to collect data because these factors directly influence the accuracy of data.
2)  Time and Cost required to collect data: Some sources of data charge money in order to give access to their information, so an organization needs to evaluate this cost with the cost of collecting data by themselves (primary market research).
3)  One also needs to take care that information collected answers the issues which need to be addressed.

Advantages of Secondary Market Research

1)  Time and Cost effective : Usually time and cost required to collect secondary data is less than efforts required to collect primary data. Data is available freely or at far lesser cost through secondary sources.
2)  Extensiveness of data : Data collected by governments and other institutes is usually very extensive and covers a large spectrum of issues. An organization can filter that data and consider only parts which they are targeting.
3)  Basis of Primary Research : Data collected from secondary sources gives an idea to organization about effectiveness of primary research. From secondary data one can form hypothesis and can evaluate the cost and efforts required to conduct own surveys. One can also note down issues, which are not covered from secondary research and, need to be addressed through primary research.

Disadvantages of Secondary Market Research

1)  Data Definitions : Secondary Researcher needs to understand various parameters and assumptions that primary research had taken while collected information. A term may have different meaning for different people, example a term 'youth' used is ambiguous and one needs to find what is the assumed age taken by primary researcher.
2)  Inaccuracy of Data : As we are not gathering our own information, first-hand, we are totally dependent on someone else's efforts. Primary researcher may have been biased or may have used questionable methods to collect data; this can be pretty risky for secondary researchers to base their report on such data.
3)  Time Lag Issues: Information collected from books, historical surveys are usually not sync with the times and might have changed drastically. Thus making such information a foundation of research may be highly risky for the business or project.
4)  May not be Specific : Extensiveness of such information is its benefit as well as drawback. Organization will not get answers to their specific issues through this data directly and one needs to 'mine' further into it to get relevant information.
5)  Proprietary Issues : Some of the secondary sources might have copyrighted their information and using them without permission can lead to various legal complications.

Usually it’s for small organizations and projects secondary market research is preferred because the time and amount of money required is less.

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