Essay: Methods of data collection

Sample Essay

The collection of data is considered as an important aspect for every researcher and in order to analyze or evaluate a hypothesis data is collected mainly through two different sources. These methods are characterized as primary and secondary sources of data collection. Only secondary data is used in this paper which is explained below:

Secondary data

The initial step in the process of data collection is to look for data that has already been published and exists prior to the current research. This is called secondary data. This data was collected and presented for a different objective from the objectives and aims of the current research. This means that the data will differ from what the researcher actually requires for his or her research. This is one of the main disadvantages of using secondary data as a source of data. Then there is the issue of the availability of the data (Jackson 2008). For example, the data on the various behavioral tendencies and habits of certain ethnic groups such as Asians is very limited and very difficult to find. Such secondary data is rarely available and the researcher may have to conduct his or her own research to acquire the required data and information. Another very important concern with using secondary data sources is the accuracy of the given data. Accuracy is a major concern when it comes to secondary data and it is important that the data comes from a reliable and authentic source. Often the data that is received from a secondary source is faulty and it becomes really difficult for the researcher to determine the level of inaccuracy of the data and then set an appropriate margin to accommodate for the inaccuracies. A final disadvantage of secondary data sources can be that even if the secondary data is available, and useful and even accurate, it may still not be enough data for the researcher. For example, if a researcher needed data for a specific market such as Asians and found demographic properties that were up to date, useful and accurate, yet the data was not enough for the researcher to gauge the reaction of the Asian market to any new or upcoming products or services (Jackson 2008).

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