Top Six Difference Between Primary Data And Secondary Data

In statistical 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, the primary data is assembling data or information for the first time, whereas the secondary data is the data that has already been gathered or collected by others.

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

Quick link: Sources of data

Primary Data Definition

Primary data is the data that is 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 the information is costly, as the analysis is done by an agency or an external organisation, and needs human resources and investment. The investigator supervises and controls the data collection process directly.

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

Secondary Data Definition

Secondary data is a second-hand data that is already collected and recorded by some researchers 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, and 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 the primary and secondary data are represented in a comparison format as follows:


Primary Data Secondary Data


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


These are original because these are collected by the investigator for the first time. These are not original because someone else has collected these for his own purpose.

Nature of Data

These are in the form of raw materials. These are in the finished form.

Reliability and Suitability

These are more reliable and suitable for the enquiry because these are collected for a particular purpose. These are 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 the terms of time and money. Secondary data requires less time and money; hence it is economical.

Precaution and Editing

No particular precaution or editing is required while using the primary data as these were 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 differences between the primary and secondary data, which is crucial for Commerce students. Stay tuned to our website for more such exciting concepts.


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