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Secondary research is research already published, and is the cheapest form of research because the data already exists for your acquisition. Secondary research can be split into internal and external research.
Internal Secondary Research
Sources Of Internal Secondary Research
Internally an organisation has access to a wealth of information, which can be a useful tool for decision making for managers. Information available may assist the organisation in discovering why sales are decreasing, why customers are not satisfied, customer usage rates and so on. Sources for internal secondary research include:
- National product sales
- Regional product sales
- Customer usage rates
- Guarantee/Warranty cards completed by customers
- Customer comments or complaints
- Sales employees
- Research and development employees
- Past research conducted by the organisation
Clearly as this information can be generated internally the only cost for the firm is the cost of the time taken by the researcher to collate the data.
External Secondary Research
Sources Of External Secondary Research
On occasions when internal secondary research isn't enough you may need to look at research carried out by others outside the organisation. Sources for external secondary research include:
- Specialist marketing reports i.e. Mintel
- Industry magazines
- Chamber of commerce
- Government statistics
- Professional bodies
- Trade associations
Limitations Of Secondary Research.
It is easy to find and collect secondary data., however, you need to be aware of the limitations the data may have and the problems that could arise if these limitations are ignored.
- Secondary data can be general and vague and may not really help companies with decision making
- The information and data may not be accurate. The source of the data must always be checked
- The data maybe old and out of date
- The sample used to generate the secondary data may be small
- The company publishing the data may not be reputable
The following links take you to websites providing useful research information for the UK such as public surveys: