I will never forget the time in high school when my 11th-grade English teacher walked into class on the first day of school and assigned a 15-page research paper on George Orwell’s 1984. I had no clue how I was going to write 15 pages of content, especially on a book that, at the time, was pretty challenging. As it turned out, those 15 pages came pretty easily thanks to the help of some secondary sources. Secondary research is just as important in the data collection process of market research. While market research is definitely not high school English, the same concept applies: external secondary research is a tremendous tool with numerous advantages.
1. Cost-Effective Alternative
Fielding a study can take a toll on your wallet and your watch and takes effort to put together. So, secondary data can be more efficient, saving you time, money, and effort. Rather than having to design a primary study, conduct it, and then analyze the results to gather data and reach a conclusion, readily available secondary data can serve the same purpose. And, on another note, others have already collected that data for the purpose of redistribution, making it more cost-effective and less time-consuming. The efficiency of secondary data with respect to time, cost and effort makes it that much more valuable to market researchers.
2. Time-Saving Accessibility
Another great thing about secondary data is its accessibility. It doesn’t take much more than a few Google searches to find a credible source, like a government agency or industry leader, with factual information. Often times, government data can be found in libraries and online free of charge. Consider sources that have provided their research for public use before conducting your own research or as a supporting perspective.
3. Credibility-Enhancing Perspective
While secondary sources are quick and easy, they also provide perspective and credibility to your research. Secondary data is particularly helpful in research collection because it provides support for data found previously, while furthering research through added questions and perspectives. By backing your current data with additional perspectives, you create an added layer of credibility and trust. An outside source shows that more than one person received the same results, decreasing the chance of error. By doing so, secondary research can also validate your existing data or reveal discrepancies. Two perspectives are always better than one. After looking at another perspective on the same topic, new questions can be asked, research can be expanded, ideas can be further developed, and your primary sources can be enhanced.
4. Resource for Primary Research Design
Utilizing external secondary sources not only adds to the depth of information, but also creates a clearer target by layering the data and gathering more insight. This can help you formulate new questions or research methods to obtain additional information through conducting your primary research. Supplementary knowledge surrounds the primary information, thus, revealing a center of focus.
External secondary research can be an extremely beneficial aspect of your market research process. Aside from its accessibility and efficiency, the added depth and perspective expands your scope. For more information on using industry analysis within your organization, download our free white paper on the importance of market research.