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Secondary Data Sources

Secondary Data Sources

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Published by Komal Shujaat

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Published by: Komal Shujaat on Aug 19, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Secondary Data Sources
Secondary data has already been gathered or published for some other  purpose. Ordinarily, it is faster to collect and less expensive than primarydata. Sources of secondary data include internal (those inside theorganization) and external (those outside the organization.) Ideally,secondary data is available from the organization's Marketing InformationSystem (MkIS). Data that has not been organized in a MkIS may beavailable from the organization’s files and reports. Also, secondary data isavailable from libraries, trade associations, government agencies, and theInternet. All sources of secondary data should be exhausted before collecting primary data.
Nature of Secondary Data Sources:
Secondary data are existing data generated for a problem other than the oneat hand. Secondary data consists of information that already existssomewhere, having been collected for another purpose.Secondary data can usually be obtained more quickly and at a lower costthan primary data. Also, secondary sources sometimes can provide data andindividual company cannot collect on its own – information that either is notdirectly available or would be too expensive to collect.Secondary data can also present problems. The needed information may notexist – researchers can rarely obtain all the data they need from secondarysources. Even when data can be found, they might not be very usable.The researcher must evaluate secondary information carefully to makecertain it is relevant, accurate, current and impartial. Secondary data can provide a good starting point for research and often can help to define problems and research objectives. In most cases, however the company mustalso collect primary data.
Internal secondary data are existing data generated by the firm – for example, accounting reports and reports of previous research projects.Internal secondary data provide valuable performance evaluationinformation and serve as a foundation for future research efforts. The mainadvantages of internal secondary data are their accessibility and low costsand the ease with which they can be incorporated into most research projects.
External secondary data are data generated by a source other than the firm.Major types include:
 One of the first places to look for secondary data is a library. Periodicals(magazines, journals, and newspapers) are materials that are published atregular intervals (monthly, quarterly, daily, etc.). They contain currentinformation, which point the way to trends that can translate into marketingopportunities.
Government Data
 Government data is available in inexpensive publications issued by local,state, national, or international governments. Most of it is in computer formand ready for further analysis. It is often used in estimating the size of markets. In fact, most topics can be found in government documents.Government data is generally considered to be reliable and includes laws,regulations, statistics, consumer information, and much more.Many researchers find it more practical to start with summary publications.Leads to more detailed documents on a topic can be found in the footnotes.Statistics are valuable in research because they can provide data for makingcomparisons and determining historical trends.
Private Research Organizations
 Many private research organizations, advertising agencies, newspapers andmagazines regularly compile and published data. Also, some information isavailable as a service to customers for clients of advertising agencies or  buyers of advertising space or time. Most trade associations compile datafrom and for their members. Some also publish magazines that focus onimportant topics in the industry. The Yellow Pages can be a big help inestimating how much competition there is in certain lines of business andwhere it is located.
Internet Search Engines
Of course using an Internet search engine can expand a search. Since there isno organization in charge of the Internet, no single comprehensive source or index tells you what information is on the Internet or how to find it. Peoplesearch the Internet using a variety of resource discovery tools called searchengines, such as AltaVista, Yahoo, and HotBot. They are Web sites in and of themselves, accessible through browsers, where you can search for other sites that contain specific keywords. You simply type in the topic, or severalkey words about what you are looking for, and the search engine will provide Web sites that have information related to that topic. For example,you will get a list of sites by keying in one or more words that best describeswhat you want.
 Searching for a Broad Topic
 When you need to get an overview of a broad topic, use a directory-stylesearch site, such as Yahoo. The user can begin with a vague, general queryand, through a series of choices, narrow the focus of the search. Also check the subject-oriented "channels" that are available at the full-text search-engine sites. Channels are basically the search-engine sites' answer to Yahoo,offering directory-type searches, but with a lot fewer sites than Yahoo has.
 Searching for a Narrow Topic
 For a narrow or specific search, coverage is more important than context, soan index search engine does a better job. When you have a specific idea of what you're looking for, check Yahoo's subject directory to see if any siteshave been devoted to the topic. A narrow term or phrase or name is unlikelyto have many whole sites devoted to it, but may be hidden in sites on other 

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