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Trampoline 2 of 12: Key definitions

Published by Mark Bodnar

Table of contents of this post series. Links back to first post.<This series of posts is aimed at the current RADIUS Trampoline cohort – but will be of use to anyone learning to do secondary market research. Click on the table of contents to go to the first post.>

Before we begin, we need to be clear about a couple really important definitions:

Primary the numeral one in a circleResearch is the sort where you do surveys, focus groups, interviews, observations, etc. to gather exactly the information you need from the right people in the right place and at the right time

That sort of research may, indeed, be part of your project, but my focus today is on...

the numeral two in a circle

Secondary Research,  which involves gathering somewhat-relevant information that other people collected in other places at other times for their own purposes, then trying to apply that information to your own goals & questions.

As you can probably guess, secondary research rarely uncovers perfect information – you will need to spend some time thinking about its relevance and reliability.  Nevertheless, it’s still an incredibly valuable process to go through.

You may get quick and cheap answers that come close enough to your needs without any need to go through conducting your own surveys, etc.!  Or (more likely), you may get close enough to some of your answers that you can spend your limited resources (time & money) focusing on doing primary research to fill in the gaps.

So... to twist an old saying: close counts in horseshoes, hand grenades and secondary research!  (Sorry.)

line drawing of a person speaking on a megaphone

Takeaway so far: Secondary research is imperfect, but useful.  Keep an open mind about how you might fit each piece of information you find into your overall picture of the situation, even if it’s on a different country or from 10 years ago.

Ready for more?  On to >> Step ONE!  Ask good questions

Mark Bodnar
Business & Economics Librarian

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