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19 Examples of Secondary Research

 , June 30, 2022
Secondary research is research that is based on existing research and analysis. This can be contrasted with primary research that is based on source data or that generates new data. Secondary research is the most common type of research as people commonly base research on rich sources of information such as studies, white papers, books and articles. This is typically far cheaper and faster than primary research that requires experiments or analysis of raw data. The following are illustrative examples of sources that are used in secondary research.
Biographies
Calculations (by someone else)
Commentary (third-party)
Government Data
Government Statistics
History Books
Industry Analysis
Industry Statistics
Journal Articles
Magazine Articles
Newspaper Articles
Non-fiction Books (excluding autobiography)
Polls (you didn't conduct yourself)
Published Data (that has been summarized or analyzed already)
Research Papers
Surveys (you didn't conduct yourself)
Textbooks
Web Sites
White Papers
Research based on an autobiography is considered primary because this can be viewed as a source document. Research based on a biography written by a biographer is secondary because this type of biography is considered research itself.
A book report that uses a work of fiction as a main source would be considered primary research because the fiction is a source document not an analysis. Likewise, any direct analysis of creative works such as art or architecture is primary research.
The use of complied, summarized or analyzed data is secondary research but the use of raw data is primary research. For example, if you find a statistic for how many people went shopping on a particular day in a particular location, this has already be calculated for you and your research would be secondary. However, if you estimate how many people went shopping on a particular day using satellite images of parking lots, this would be primary research.
It is common for primary research to include some secondary research as background. If your research involves any primary research, it is typically considered primary research.
Overview: Secondary Research
Type
Definition
Research that is based on existing research and analysis.
As Opposed to
Primary Research
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