Secondary Source InvestigationSecondary source investigation in market research involves collecting second-hand data from reports and studies carried out by government agencies, trade associations or other businesses within your industry.

Such reports are usually published in pamphlets, newsletters, trade publications, magazines, and newspapers. Secondary source investigation includes:

  • Public sources. These are usually free, often offer a lot of good information, and include government departments, business departments of public libraries, and so on.
  • Commercial sources. These are valuable, but usually involve cost factors such as subscription and association fees. Commercial sources include research and trade associations, banks and other financial institutions, and publicly traded corporations.
  • Educational institutions. These are frequently overlooked as valuable information sources even though more research is conducted in colleges, universities, and technical institutes than virtually any sector of the business community.

Marketers are attracted to secondary source investigation due to the time savings and potential cost savings in acquiring information, among other advantages this data offers to the marketer such as:

  • Ease of access – The Internet has certainly meant a change to secondary source investigation as research is accessed by offering convenience (e.g., online access from many locations) and generally standardized usage methods for all data sources.
  • Helps to clarify research question – Secondary research is often used prior to larger scale primary research to help clarify what is to be learned. For instance, a researcher doing competitor analysis, but who is not familiar with competitors in a market, could access secondary source investigation to locate a list of potential competitors.
  • Answers research question – As noted, secondary source investigation is often used to help set the stage for primary research. In the course of doing so researchers may find that the exact information they were looking for is available via secondary sources thus eliminating the need and expense to carrying out their own primary research.
  • Shows difficulties in conducting primary research – The originators of secondary source investigation often provide details on how the information was collected. This may include discussion of difficulties encountered. For instance, the secondary research may be a research report written by a large market research company. These types of reports often include a section discussing the procedures used to collect the data and within this may disclose problems in obtaining the data, such as a high percentage of people declining to take part in the research. After reading this the marketer may decide the potential information that may be obtained is not worth the potential difficulties in conducting the research.

Let Roe Smithson & Asociados Ltda present you several alternatives for locating good secondary source investigation.

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