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Difference Between Primary and Secondary Research

Primary vs Secondary Research

Knowledge is the key to success in different fields of human endeavor. This is the reason why companies, government agencies, and academic institutions all spend a significant amount of their resources amassing data and information – a process which is also known as research. The development of each organization is centered on improving human living conditions and it is the researcher’s job to find solutions to the problems society encounters as it grows.

The first aspect in which primary research differs from secondary is the availability of resources from which to gather information and data from. For individuals who are doing primary work, they build their project from the ground up, otherwise known as starting from scratch. This means gathering details firsthand without any guide or outside help. The data gathered from this kind of research is raw and unfiltered which means more work is needed to get the desired information to meet objectives.

Primary research is for example the work that is carried out by researchers gathering demographic data. This involves the groups who wish to study the population of an area, knocking on doors to interview residents and record data themselves. However, the information they get still needs to be analyzed further in order to come out with results they need to establish their goals.

Secondary research follows the same steps used in primary research but the difference lies in the source researchers use to transform their data into information. Instead of gathering data themselves, they use second hand information taken from published articles, recorded interviews, and from various literature formats like books, videos, and news reports. The information that they can get are already analyzed and polished so they can select which ones can meet their goals.

Using the same example of the demographics study, an individual who wishes to study a specific area like ‘incidence of obesity in certain areas’ can get information from government agencies who handle population control or from medical facilities that handle cases of obesity. Compared to primary research, it’s a more targeted approach with precise objectives.

Another obvious difference between primary and secondary research is the degree of difficulty in which each one is undertaken. Primary research requires more work and uses a significant amount of resources while secondary research can be done in libraries and offices. Either way, both kinds of research are vital in garnering knowledge that can improve life.


1.Primary research is firsthand gathering of information while secondary research is based on already established data like written reports and books.
2.Primary is much harder and more time consuming compared to secondary research which doesn’t take long and doesn’t consume as much resources.

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