Why do we bother with primary research?
One of the biggest questions we face as an organisation, and you face as students is ‘Why do primary research?’. Often, it’s tempting to simply use secondary data because, let’s face it, collecting primary data can be time-consuming and you may not even be sure the data you are collecting is right for your research questions. But primary data has many advantages, all of which can help your work shine! Let’s start by talking about what exactly we mean by ‘primary research’.
What is primary research?
Primary research is a form of data collection that relies solely on data collected directly by the researcher, without relying on any previously collected data from other studies. This means that the researcher owns the data, which can be gathered to investigate a particular problem or examine a relationship between two variables. Obviously, being able to undertake this kind of investigation means that in-depth analysis is necessary, and this is one reason why primary research can be so important and beneficial. There are several types of primary research which can be undertaken and it’s important to understand how they differ, so that when you are deciding on a method, you can be sure that you have chosen the right kind. Of course, we are always here to help you with these decisions and guide you in the right direction. It is not just in academic studies that choosing the right data is important. Companies wanting to understand their market rely on primary data to make the right decisions about products, promotions, prices, and wider customer relations issues.
Types of Primary Data
One of the most common techniques is interviews, which can be conducted by phone or face-to-face. This is a qualitative research method and requires a conversation between the researcher and the interviewee and allows for more in-depth information and perceptions to be gathered. It is a highly personal approach as the interviewer has to be able to respond to the interviewee’s comments and responses.
Surveys are a common quantitative primary research method, and they are mostly conducted online. They are convenient, quick to complete and, in today’s restricted-contact environment, researchers can benefit from a large data set without having to speak to participants face-to-face. This type of primary research has the advantage of being quick to complete, and usually contains both open-ended and close-ended questions. A good survey is one which is short, defined and to the point and of course, we can help you create the perfect questions to gain the right primary data.
Focus groups are also highly popular when the researcher is looking to examine different opinions but wants to gather information from shared knowledge. The process involves a researcher discussing a subject with a small group and has the advantage of being able to draw out focused information that is both timely and relevant.
Other methods of primary data collection include observations and experimental conditions in laboratories where there is no direct interaction between the researcher and participants. Reactions of the cohort are observed, and notes are made. An advantage of this approach is that the participants are more likely to act naturally.
All these different types of data collection are primary, taken direct from source and not already published materials and have the same advantages. So, let’s look at these in more detail.
Advantages of Primary Research
Clearly, the major advantage is that the data is both first-hand and accurate and, importantly, the questions or experimental conditions can be created as a unique approach to meet the needs of the research. What this means is that the data you collect will be directly related to your work, gathered specifically to answer your research questions.
Secondly, primary research should be focused on answering the main question or reason for undertaking a study. In other words, there is a defined problem, and the research and thus data collection methods and resulting dataset can be focused just on that. This means that you can be sure that the data you have collected is concentrated on your precise questions so is more likely to answer the questions or deliver the solutions required. This means that when you are undertaking your own project, the data you gather will be specific, clear, and directly related to your own research questions.
In addition, when you are collecting primary data, you have a greater level of control and ownership of the data, instead of having to adjust data that was collected by another researcher who may have had a slightly different focus. This level of control also means that the data you collect from primary sources is up-to-date and thus more relevant in your field. Furthermore, because you are controlling the data, you can more effectively manage the timescales, scopes, and size of the dataset you use.
How we can help
If the idea of primary research sounds daunting, time-consuming, or complex, you should not be concerned. We have dedicated, trained writers who have wide experience in all the key primary research areas and who understand the importance of having defined, first-hand data sets to answer your research questions. This means we can help you identify the best method for your study aims and ensure that your data is appropriate, clear, and accurate.
If you need more information about how to manage primary research and why it is beneficial, we can give you expert advice on your own project.
So, now that you understand what primary research means, and what it involves, you can start focusing on your own projects, and examining how to identify the type of data you need to collect to answer your research questions and deliver the best work you can. Of course, we are there to help you every step of the way with our professional, committed team of writers.