Secondary data is the data that has been already collected and is readily available from other sources. Such data are cheaper and more quickly obtainable than the primary data and also may be available when primary data can not be obtained at all.
Sources of Secondary Data
It can be gathered from different sources which can be categorized into two categories. These are as follows:
1. Published Sources: Secondary data is usually gathered from published (printed) sources. A few major sources of published information are as follows:
- Published articles of local bodies, and central and state governments
- Statistical synopses, census records, and other reports issued by the different departments of the government
- Official statements and publications of the foreign governments
- Publications and reports of chambers of commerce, financial institutions, trade associations, etc.
- Magazines, journals, and periodicals
- Publications of government organizations like the Central Statistical Organisation, and National Sample Survey Organisation.
- Reports presented by research scholars, bureaus, economists, etc.
2. Unpublished Sources: Statistical data can be obtained from several unpublished references. Some of the major unpublished sources from which secondary data can be gathered are as follows:
- The research works conducted by teachers, professors, and professionals
- The records that are maintained by private and business enterprises
- Statistics are maintained by different departments and agencies of the central and the state government, undertakings, corporations, etc.
Advantages of Secondary Data
- It is economical. It saves efforts and expenses.
- Helps to make primary data collection more specific since, with the help of secondary data, we can make out what are the gaps and deficiencies and what additional information needs to be collected.
- It helps to improve the understanding of the problem.
- Provides a basis for the comparison of the data that is collected by the researcher.