Top 6 Difference Between Primary Data And Secondary Data

In statistic analysis, collection of data plays a significant part. The method of collecting information is divided into two different sections, namely, primary data and secondary data. In this process, primary data is assembling of data or information for the first time, whereas, secondary data is the data that has been already gathered or collected by others.

The most important characteristics of primary data is it is original and first-hand, whereas, secondary data is the interpretation and analysis of the primary data. 

Quick link: Sources of data

What is primary data?

Primary data is the data collected for the first time through personal experiences or evidence, particularly for research. It is also described as raw data or first-hand information. The mode of assembling info is costly, as the analysis is done by an agency or an external organisation and need human resources and investment. The investigator supervises and controls the data collection process directly.

Mostly the data is collected through observations, physical testing, mailed questionnaires, surveys, personal interviews, telephonic interviews, case studies,  and focus groups, etc.

What is secondary data?

Secondary data are second-hand data that is already collected and recorded by some researcher for their purpose and not for the current research problem. It is accessible in the form of data collected from different sources such as government publications, censuses,  internal records of the organisation, books, journal articles, websites, and reports etc. 

This method of gathering data is affordable, readily available, saves cost and time. However, the one disadvantage is that the information assembled is for some other purpose and may not meet the present research purpose or may not be accurate.

Explore link: Sources of secondary data

The Differences between primary data and secondary data are represented in a comparison format are as follows:


Primary Data

Secondary Data


Primary data are those which are collected for the first time. Secondary data refers to those data which have already been collected by some other person.


Primary data is original because these are collected by the Investigator for the first time. Secondary data are not original because someone else has collected these for his own purpose.

Nature of data

Primary data are in the form of raw materials. Secondary data are in the finished form.

Reliability and Suitability 

Primary data are more reliable and suitable for the enquiry because it is collected for a particular purpose. It is less reliable and less suitable as someone else has collected the data which may not perfectly match our purpose.

Time and Money

Collecting primary data is quite expensive both in time and money terms. Secondary data requires less time and money so it is economical.

Precaution and Editing

No particular precaution or editing is required while using primary data as these have been collected with a definite purpose. Both precaution and editing are essential as secondary data were collected by someone else for his own purpose.

This article covers the concepts and difference between primary data and secondary data, which is crucial for Commerce students. To learn more such exciting concepts stay tuned to BYJU’S.


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