Paper Topic: Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Data


Secondary data is an important terminology used in research studies where the collected data is of two types that include the primary data and secondary data. The primary data is the data which is collected by the user or researcher himself based on his research question. While the secondary data is the already available data that was collected by someone else than the user (Finn, 2011). Generally, the sources for secondarily collected data include the information collected by government organizations, censuses, the records of companies and the other record which were originally collected for other research studies to meet different purposes.

There are different advantages and disadvantages of the secondary data which is used in different studies. This essay covers some important advantages followed by some disadvantages of the secondary research data. A number of sources have been consulted for getting relevant information about this topic.

Advantages of Secondary Data

Advantages of the secondary data refer to the benefits and importance of using the secondarily collected record and data in a research study. Some of the advantages of secondary data include:

Time and Cost Effective

            Generally, the secondary data can be collected very easily where researchers have to find the source of that data and then collect it at all. Besides, the time and cost required to collect this type of data is very lesser as compared to that of primary data. Hence, it can be said that it is primary advantage of secondary data (Sparrow, 2012). This thing helps the researchers to collect the data easily and without spending much time and financial resources.

Ease of Access

In order to access good secondary data, the marketers visit libraries or the places where the secondary data can be found easily. Besides, internet has also made the secondary data also very much easier to access and it can be said as another advantage of the secondary data. As an example of a research study, the literature review can be said as a secondary data which can be accessed very easily.

Longitudinal Analysis

            Another advantage of the secondary data is that it can do longitudinal analysis where the studies are conducted spanning over a larger period of time. Usually the secondary research data has this capability that it can be used to determine a trend. This advantage of the secondary research data can help the researchers to compare their own data with any longitudinal study which has already been conducted in that particular area of study (Secondary Data , 2013).


While using the secondary research data, the researcher can use the random sampling resulting in the larger sampling size which may not be possible in a primary data collection. Usually the organization which already have collected data use the larger samples which can be used later by other researchers for their studies (López, 2013).

Disadvantages of Secondary Data

The disadvantages of the secondary data can include a number of things. Following are some of them:

Not Specific to One’s Needs

            In many forms of the secondary research data, it is not specific to the needs of a researcher. Therefore, the researcher cannot only rely on the secondary research data and it is not of much use to him. It can be exemplified better by stating a simple scenario. For example, a person or organization who collected the data for itself will be saved as secondary data for future researches. However, the future researchers who will use that data as secondary data might not find it appropriate and specific to their needs (McDaniel & Gates, 2008).


            The secondarily collected data is usually collected by someone else than the one who uses it. Hence, generally the secondary data is biased in the favor of one who collected it and might not necessarily meet with the requirements of another researcher (Sparrow, 2012). In addition, biasness can also refer to the disadvantage in terms of the researcher manipulating the secondary data.

Lack of Availability

This can also be said as another disadvantages where the secondary data might not be available and accessible easily. Sometimes, it can be the case that researcher may not be able to find the exactly relevant and appropriate secondary available data. Sometimes, a researcher conducting a study on a particular topic does not find himself in a position to find the data which addresses his research question and purpose in a proper manner.

Time Lag Issues

Information which is collected from secondary sources such as books and historical surveys might not sync with the times and it can change drastically. Hence, this can emerge as another disadvantage of the secondary research data where the time lag issue rises and as a result, it can be highly risky for the business or a project.















Finn, E. (2011). Secondary Research – Disadvantages . Retrieved from Knowthis:

López, X. S.-S. (2013, December 11). Advantages and disadvantages of secondary data collection nowadays . Xaperezsindin.

McDaniel, C., & Gates, R. (2008). Secondary Data and Databases. In Marketing Research Essentials (8th Edition ed., pp. 61-78). Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Secondary Data . (2013). Retrieved from Managment Study Guide:

Sparrow, P. (2012, May). Secondary Market Research: Advantages and Disadvantages. I answer for you.