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24 Examples of Primary Research

Primary research is research based on first hand accounts or direct evidence. This includes the results of experiments conducted by the researchers and any other mode of data collection such as surveys, interviews and field observation. Primary research can be contrasted with secondary research that is based on primary research. The following are common examples of primary research.
Analysis of Artefacts
Analysis of Artworks / Creative Works
Analysis of Media / Communications
Analysis of Oral Histories / Memoirs / Autobiographies
Blinded Experiments
Case Study
Clinical Trials
Controlled Experiments
Data Analysis
Document Analysis
Field Experiments
Field Observations
Group Interviews / Focus Groups
Machine Data
Natural Experiments
Participant Observation
Retrospective Cohort Study
Sensor Data
Surveys / Questionnaires
Witness Accounts
Primary research can be based on direct experience of creative works such as viewing an artwork or reading literature.
Analysis of raw data is primary research whereas analysis of data that has already been complied and analyzed is secondary research.
Primary research typically includes some secondary research that provides context. For example, a clinical trial that points to other research in an introduction. Where your research is adding new information, it is primary, whether or not you also refer to other primary sources.
Overview: Primary Research
Research based on first hand accounts or direct evidence.
As Contrasted With
Secondary Research
Related Concepts


This is the complete list of articles we have written about research.
Control Group
Dependent Variable
Empirical Evidence
Explanatory Power
First Principles
Natural Experiment
Negative Control
Original Research
Positive Bias
Positive Control
Primary Research
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Random Assignment
Random Error
Research Design
Research Skills
Research Topics
Scientific Control
Scientific Fact
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