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Secondary research is research already published, and is the cheapest form of research because the data already exists for your acquisition. Secondary research can be split into internal and external research.

Sources of Internal Research

Internally an organisation has access to a wealth of information, which can be a useful tool for decision making for managers. Information available may assist the organisation in discovering why sales are decreasing, why customers are not satisfied, customer usage rates and so on. Sources of internal research may include:

  • National product sales.

  • Regional product sales.

  • Customer usage rates.

  • Guarantee cards.

  • Customer comments or complaints.

  • Sales people, research and development staff.

  • Past research conducted.

Clearly as this information can be generated internally the only cost implication will be of staff time obtaining the data.

External Secondary Research

  Sources of external secondary data include:

  • Periodicals.

  • Specialist marketing reports i.e Mintel

  • Industry magazines.

  • Chamber of commerce.

  • Government statistics.

  • Internet.

  • Professional bodies.

  • Trade associations.

Limitations of Secondary Research.

It is easy to find and collect secondary data., however, you need to be aware of the limitations the data may have and the problems that could arise if these limitations are ignored.

  • Secondary data can be general and vague and may not really help companies with decision making.

  • The information and data may not be accurate. The source of the data must always be checked.

  • The data maybe old and out of date.

  • The sample used to generate the secondary data may be small.

  • The company publishing the data may not be reputable.

Secondary Research Links

The following links take you to websites providing useful research information for the UK such as public surveys:



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