Primary and Secondary research
Review of Research Options
Academic investigations should be approached in a systematic way.
Before deciding on your research options, you need to work out a profile of the study to see what types of research approach or methods will be most appropriate.
Click here for a recommended sequence of steps to follow in the research process.
Social - part of a community of scholars
Research in the Social Sciences is expected to combine the originality of an individual study with the connection of that work to existing disciplinary knowledge and previous research.
Also, any study which the researcher intends to share with a wider community, whether academic or business, needs to be contextualised to show where it comes from in terms of
- its theoretical and social influences
- the time, place and circumstances to which it applies
Note: This functional analysis of the stages in the research report shows the progression from secondary research to primary research, and back to a comparison with other scholars' findings.
Note: Go to General Discussion to see how research reports require a discussion of results which relates your own study to comparable empirical work by other scholars [preferably already introduced in your Literature Review].
What are primary and secondary research options ?
You should always consider secondary research options first.
Secondary research options
There are a range of resources available for secondary research: the most well-known are:
Dunsmuir and Williams (1992) list the following advantages and disadvantages of secondary research:
Problems for second-language students
Primary Research Options
The most common primary research resources are:
Dunsmuir & Williams again, on advantages and disadvantages of Social Surveys:
Quick and cheap if your sample is small
Using a large sample can be time-consuming