When you are working on in-depth research on some topics, it is crucial to apply proper approaches. It often determines the overall success of your work. Whether you use primary or secondary research, you have to be extra careful about the reliability.
But wait a moment. What are those primary and secondary things, and how do they differ? This question often puzzles the newcomers. Therefore, we’ve decided to examine it all-around.
The difference between primary and secondary researches is in the person doing them.
Suppose you are planning a thesis to defend for the degree. In that case, you won’t avoid doing both primary and secondary types of research. On the other hand, you may get the lion’s share of all materials by the secondary research only. It is the prevailing means for several reasons:
As you see, secondary research is often the default approach for a reason. Its advantages are obvious. Even the most famous scientists start their original investigations with secondary studies. It is an integral part of any scientific process.
It does not mean, however, that this research approach is ideal. There are pitfalls too, and you should consider them.
With all the impressive advantages of secondary research, it is not a universal solution. It can’t guarantee that you’ll get all the data you need and in the appropriate format. You need to keep it on your mind when using this approach. Pay attention to the following potential obstacles:
All the aspects mentioned above may take place. It does not make the information useless at all, but the use would be indirect. It might help you to research the background of the problem. Or, it leads you to an impressive research question. In any case, remember that the data retrieved from the secondary research can be problematic. Be very careful and make sure to go through the sources properly before applying it.
We’ve mentioned that you’d use trustworthy sources for those researches. When you conduct your secondary research, you may refer to internal and external sources.
Whether you use internal or external sources, you need to check them for relevance first. For instance, you may examine some issues chronologically. Then, make sure that you have materials for each essential chronological point.
One more significant factor is to get the right type of data from those sources.
The data you obtain via the secondary research may be of two types: quantitative and qualitative. Both are essential in a decent scientific job.
The typical model of your research is combining the qualitative data with the quantitative data. This way, you relate the two data types to each other and get the patterns.
When you are gathering the data during the research, you process them at once. The three methods of work are:
Thus, we’ve clarified the basics of secondary research. Let’s now review the entire process that you’ll perform to compose your paper.
Any research process consists of several stages. As for the secondary research, it obeys the general rules, but it also has some specificities. Below we examine the research process as a sequence of four necessary stages.
It depends on the type of paper you work on if you already have a research question or not. Undergraduate theses mostly involve predefined research questions. In the case of a graduate dissertation, you have to determine it yourself. Though it relates to many other papers – even college essays demand developing the research questions.
Any scientific investigation starts with understanding what you want to find out. Thus, the following steps are necessary:
It depends on your work’s nature if you require both the primary and secondary studies’ results. Should their secondary data be enough, you still need to consider the sources.
It is crucial to base your research on trustworthy information. Whether it is primary or secondary type, you need to evaluate the sources of the data. For the secondary research data sources, note the following aspects:
When you’ve defined the reliable sources for you and retrieved the necessary information, you can analyze it.
First of all, you determine the qualitative aspects. This way, you clarify the field of your research and its most essential factors. Then, apply the quantitative data to those criteria. You will need to use the statistical analysis methods. The more data you can refer to, the more reliable your results can be.
The best way is to use Excel sheets. There, you can enter the data of your interest and process them. Excel is a powerful analytical tool, and it can calculate the necessary dependencies for you easier. On the other hand, you can use any devices that are suitable for you.
The secondary research is an efficient approach that is excellent for all independent works. The graduate theses often demand your primary investigations. Still, you can’t do it properly without referring to the authoritative voices of the past investigators. We hope that this article helped clarify all the basics of secondary research, and its principles are now clear.
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