What are three advantages and limitations of primary research data collection?

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litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Primary research data collection describes when a business conducts its own research and controls its own data.  There are several advantages and disadvantages of primary research data collection.

Primary data is that which is collected by the researcher to address the current research question.  (enotes, see first link)

One advantage of primary research data collection is that the company conducting the research has total control of the process.  When you are the one collecting the data, you are able to design the process to meet your needs.

Another advantage is that it’s easier and more accurate to analyze data that you have collected yourself.  When you collect and analyze your own data, you are much closer to the data.  You therefore have a much deeper understanding of it.

A final advantage to primary research data collection is that you can use secondary data.  Sometimes you study one thing and discover something else.  If your firm is the one conducting the research, all of the data that it yields might be useful.  Sometimes it is not possible to tell until data is collected what it might be used for.

Secondary data is generally less costly and less time consuming than gathering primary data, typically is accumulated before primary data is gathered, and may even help determine the course by which primary data is pursued. (enotes, see first link)

For all its advantages, a company has to be very committed before beginning to conduct primary research.  First of all, it’s expensive.  Research is time consuming and must be conducted by trained professionals.  Second of all, it can be misleading.  If the data collection is too narrow, and you only collect one field of data, you might miss something.  Finally, you need to have a clear research question before you begin collecting data, so it is a long and time-consuming process.