Skip to content

Primary Data And Secondary Data

Primary Data Definition

Primary data is a type of data that is collected by researchers directly from main sources through interviews, surveys, experiments, etc. The data is mostly collected through observations, physical testing, mailed questionnaires, surveys, personal interviews, telephonic interviews, case studies, focus groups, etc.

Secondary Data Definition

Secondary data is 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 organization, books, journal articles, websites, reports, etc.

Difference Between Primary Data And Secondary Data


Primary Data

Secondary Data


The primary data definition says it to be the data that is collected for the first time by the user himself

The secondary data definition says it to be the type of data that is previously collected by others and later used by another.

Method of collection

These are collected via physical testing, observation, surveys, questionnaires, focus groups, telephonic interviews, photographs, artifacts, case studies, videos, diary entries, eyewitnesses,  personal interviews, etc.

They are collected from published data by the state or central government, articles by local bodies, census data, magazines, periodicals, journals, publications by CSO, etc.

Purpose of collection

They are mainly collected for a specific purpose and are involved in direct usage without any manipulation.

They may be collected for multiple purposes as required by the user to derive various kinds of inferences from them after necessary manipulation.


They are collected by the user directly, so they are original and devoid of any kind of alteration.

The data are collected by others for their usage, so it is not original.

Type of data

The collected primary data is in the form of raw materials, which need to be represented in proper ways to derive the necessary conclusion.

These data are already collected and used for a specific purpose. So, they are obtained in a polished form.


They are first-hand data, so these are more reliable, as they are collected with a specific intention.

They are collected by others which makes them less reliable as they are collected for other purposes and may not be in line with the user’s requirement.

Collection time

Since they are collected for the first time directly by the user, it requires a lot of time.

As the secondary data is already collected and can be used later, it does not demand time for collection when used later.


The first-time data collection is also quite expensive because the user has to conduct the surveys or questionnaires all by himself.

This type of data is already present in a presentable form on the official websites or magazines, which can be used by the user to suffice his purpose. Hence, collecting them does not require extra expenses.

Primary Data And Secondary Data