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12 Types of Primary Data

Primary data is source data that you have collected yourself. This can be contrasted with computed data that has undergone significant processing and secondary data that you have obtained from an outside source. The following are the basic types of primary data.


Data from a sensor such as a camera or thermometer.


Measurements from an instrument such as a ruler or scale.


Data obtained through objective human observation. For example, a researcher who notes that a plant looks wilted.


Interviews with people regarding their experiences, opinions, perceptions and needs. For example, a ski resort that interviews customers on exit to determine elements of their customer experience that can be improved.


Asking people a set of questions, often in a multiple choice or rating scale format. This is easier to convert to data than an interview but is often less open-ended.


A procedure that is designed to test a hypothesis in a systematic and controlled fashion. For example, a farmer who tests a hypothesis that watering corn at dusk leads to higher yield against a positive control of watering at dawn.

User Input

User input such as a click or hover over a television show on the user interface for a video streaming service.


Transactions such as a digital rental of a film on a video streaming service.

Process Data

Data that originates with business processes. For example, timing data for each unit as it passes through the workstations in a production line.

Geographical Data

The geographical location of an entity such as a machine or person at a point in time.

Machine Data

Data regarding the internal state of a machine. For example, data that indicates brakes were applied on a vehicle at a particular intersection.

Event Data

Information triggered by an event such as a person ringing a door bell or email arriving in an inbox.
Overview: Primary Data
Unprocessed data that has been directly collected.
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about data.
Abstract Data
Atomic Data
Big Data
Cohort Analysis
Dark Data
Data Analysis
Data Architecture
Data Attribute
Data Cleansing
Data Collection
Data Complexity
Data Consumer
Data Control
Data Corruption
Data Custodian
Data Degradation
Data Dredging
Data Entity
Data Federation
Data Integration
Data Integrity
Data Liberation
Data Lineage
Data Literacy
Data Loss
Data Management
Data Massage
Data Migration
Data Mining
Data Owner
Data Producer
Data Quality
Data Remanence
Data Risks
Data Rot
Data Science
Data Security
Data States
Data Transformation
Data Uncertainty
Data Veracity
Data View
Data Virtualization
Data Volume
Data Wipe
Decision Support
Deep Magic
Empirical Evidence
Event Data
Hard Data
Information Assurance
Legacy Data
Machine Data
Market Research
Master Data
Misuse of Statistics
Personal Data
Personal Information
Predictive Analytics
Primary Data
Primary Research
Qualitative Data
Qualitative Info
Quantitative Data
Raw Data
Reference Data
Small Data
Soft Data
Source Data
Statistical Analysis
Statistical Population
Structured Data
Transaction Processing
Transactional Data
Types Of Data
Unstructured Data
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Types Of Data

The basic types of data.

Qualitative Data vs Quantitative Data

The difference between qualitative data and quantitative data.

Small Data vs Big Data

The difference between big data and small data.

Small Data

The definition of small data with examples.

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The definition of machine readable with examples.

Empirical Evidence

The definition of empirical evidence with examples.

Unstructured Data

A definition of unstructured data with examples.


An overview of data with a list of examples.

Data Examples

Common examples of data.

Event Data

The definition of event data with examples.

Data Mining Examples

The definition of data mining with examples.

Data Architecture

The definition of data architecture with examples.

Cached Data

The definition of cached data with examples. Includes an explanation of why cached data can usually be deleted safely.

Data Driven

An overview of data-driven approaches with examples.
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