Defining the two
Primary data in research writing refers to data that is collected through meetings, surveys, focus group discussions, interviews, or any other method that involves interaction or direct contact with the study subjects or respondents; the data has never been used before.
Secondary data in research writing is already existing data and has been used prior to the intended research. One can access secondary data from information storage systems, statistics bureau among other places.
Difference between primary data and secondary data
The main difference between the primary data and secondary data is while the former is collected for a pre-determined specific purpose, secondary data is collected for another primary purpose but can also be used for a secondary purpose. The similarity among the two, however, is that both primary and secondary data can be used for both quantitative and qualitative types of research.
Use of primary and secondary data
Credible research writing requires that the available data, both primary and secondary be used appropriately in a logical framework.
Collecting primary data is costly and time-consuming, however, it is important if a research desires to find facts on research subjects from their natural environment, or wants to exercise qualitative researches.
Secondary data is an effective way of saving time and cost in research as it does not collect raw data, organizing, and other requirements of primary data. This kind of data also plays a significant role in laying a foundation for research writing involving primary data collection, monitors and evaluators are aware of the already existing information and their objective is to build on it.
While planning to collect both primary data and secondary data, it is paramount to document this during the planning and developing stage. This ensures that there is uniform and proper data collection which results in credible and reliable research writing.
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