It is often said that primary data is “real time” data, meaning that it has been collected at the time of the research project.
Here, the data collection is under the direct control of the researcher.
What’s more, students carrying out primary research have an opportunity to make small contributions to their field, which can feel really satisfying – for many, it’s their first taste of being a researcher, rather than just a learner.
Now, if you’re reading this and scoffing at our steadfast enthusiasm for primary research, we’ll let you in on a little secret – doing research actually isn’t that difficult.
The apprehension that students can feel towards primary research for their dissertation is often comparable to the almost insurmountable levels of stress before exams.
And yet, there’s a significant difference between doing primary research and sitting exams.When doing primary research, you have a choice of relying on qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodologies.Each of these will be described separately, and then we will look at specific steps that you need to complete depending on your chosen methodology. This means that qualitative research is often conducted when there are no quantitative investigations on the topic, and you are seeking to explore the topic for the first time.The goal is to gain a more thorough understanding of a topic than would be possible by relying on a single methodological approach.Usually, a mixed method involves doing qualitative research first, which is then supplemented by quantitative research.It’s a case of learning to follow specific procedures and knowing when to make particular decisions.Which is where this guide comes in; it offers step-by-step advice on these procedures and decisions, so you can use it to support you both before and during your dissertation research process.The former is far more engaging, rewarding, varied, and dare we say it, even fun.You’re in the driving seat and you get to ask the questions.Secondary data has been collected by somebody else in the past and is usually accessible via past researchers, government sources, and various online and offline records.This type of data is referred to as “past data”, because it has been collected in the past.