Desk Research: Advantages and Disadvantages

You can make informed decisions and develop future-oriented strategies if you understand the benefits and drawbacks of secondary data.

Secondary data sources can help you optimise your current and future results no matter where you work – in business, marketing, research, or statistics.

What is Secondary Market Research and Data?

To comprehend secondary research, it is necessary to first comprehend primary research. Primary data collection is initiated by those seeking the information, and can include going directly to customers, conducting focus groups, interviewing the target demographic, and so on. Yes, it’s all valuable, but it can sometimes feel like shooting fish in a barrel because it’s used to confirm or refute the company’s biases.

Secondary research, on the other hand, is data gathered by others for their own purposes. It can be polls, interviews, focus group reports, or any other type of data that you might initiate for your own purposes, but which was initiated by others and thus isn’t tailored to your project or needs. Secondary research includes government statistics, marketing reports, demographic information from magazines, and data from small business associations in your city or state.

Factors that should be considered while gathering data from secondary sources:

1) Data accuracy: The credibility of the data source and the methods used to collect data should be evaluated because these factors have a direct impact on data accuracy.


2) Time and cost required to collect data: Some data sources charge a fee for access to their information, so an organisation must weigh this cost against the cost of collecting data on their own (primary market research).


3) It is also important to ensure that the information gathered focus the issues that need to be addressed.

Advantages of Secondary Market Research

1) Ease of access: Secondary data sources are very simple to obtain. The Internet has altered the way secondary research is conducted. Nowadays, you can access a wealth of knowledge simply with a click on your mouse.


2) Low cost or free; The vast majority of secondary sources are either completely free or very low at cost. It saves you not only money but also time. In contrast to primary research, which requires you to design and carry out the entire primary study process from start to finish, secondary research allows you to collect data without spending any money.


3) Time-saving: Secondary study has a huge advantage in terms of saving time. Answers can be found within minutes of conducting a web search, because they’ve already been analysed and organised so, there’s no need to group or categorise responses. Instead, the data has been parsed by someone else, saving you time and effort.


4) Longitudinal analysis Secondary data allows you to do a longitudinal study, which ensures that the studies are conducted over an extended period of time. This will assist you in identifying various patterns. Additionally, you can use secondary data from several years ago to just a few hours ago. It gives you the ability to compare data over time.

Disadvantages of Secondary Market Research

1)  Data Definitions: Secondary researchers must be aware of the different criteria and assumptions used by primary researchers when gathering data. A word can have different meanings for different people; for example, the term “youth” is vague, and one must determine what the primary researcher’s presumed age is.

2)  Inaccuracy of Data: We are completely reliant on the efforts of others because we are not collecting our own knowledge firsthand. Because the primary researcher may have been biassed or used dubious methods to collect data, secondary researchers should be wary of basing their report on such information.


3)  Time Lag Issues: Freshness is a big concern with secondary research. When was the information gathered? What has changed since that time? Is it still relevant? Geography influences data, income, and age distributions. As a result, making such information the foundation of research could be extremely risky for the business or project.


4)  May not be Specific: The extensiveness of such information is both a benefit and a disadvantage. Organizations will not get direct answers to their specific issues from this data, and they will need to ‘mine’ deeper into it to find relevant information.


5)  Proprietary Issues: Some secondary sources may have copyrighted their information, and using them without permission can result in a variety of legal ramifications.

Secondary data sources are an important way for many businesses to gather information about their customers in order to better understand and serve them. We are living in the age of big data. Knowing the benefits and drawbacks of secondary data can help all management levels and types make better decisions. It provides a solid foundation for developing new opportunities, implementing data-driven marketing, and improving your results and performance.