How Do You Know If Secondary Data Is Reliable?

secondary data representationIn today's business world, using secondary data to make important decisions is fundamental to how companies operate.

But here's the catch: you need to make sure that the data you're using is reliable. If you don't, you might end up with faulty information and bad outcomes for your business.

Thanks to the internet, anyone can publish things online. But not everything you see on Google or ChatGPT is legitimate. So, before you rely on any data you find online, you should check whether it’s trustworthy.

How to Check If Secondary Data Is Trustworthy

Take a step back and ask yourself these questions to evaluate the reliability of secondary data.

Who gathered the data? It's important to know who collected the information. Data from big organizations like the U.S. government is usually more trustworthy than information from some random person's website. When sourcing information from market research reports, find out about the publishers behind them. Stick with well-known names, or speak with a research specialist to learn more about the publisher’s reputation.

What kind of information was collected? Not all the data you find will fit your needs. Sometimes, the data that’s available might be too general for your specific needs, it may not be relevant, or it may not use the correct research methods or sample size. Understanding the scope and methodology of research is critical.

When was the data collected? Time matters. If you want to learn about current trends shaping the market today, you need the most up-to-date data and analysis available. Check the dates to make sure you're using the newest information.

Why was the data shared? Think about why the data was published in the first place. Consider if any bias may be involved. Sometimes a company is just trying to make itself look good, or a group may attempt to drum up support for its own mission. Always consider the source and how objective it may be. Corporations often rely on third-party market research firms because they are known to be unbiased and have no hidden agenda.

Does the data make sense? Check multiple sources to validate your data. Does the data contradict other reliable sources? Does the data line up with historical trends? Is the data in line with what you know about related fields?

By asking these questions, you can make sure you're using high-quality data for your business. These days, finding data is easy, but finding good data can set you apart from the competition.

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