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Primary Data

Primary Data



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Published by reneesh
Introduction to Primary Data
Introduction to Primary Data

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Published by: reneesh on Aug 04, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Primary Data
Sources of information are generally categorised as primary, secondary or tertiarydepending on their originality and their proximity to the source or origin. For example,scientific information moves through a dissemination cycle. Initially, findings might becommunicated informally by email, then presented at meetings before being formally published as a primary source. Once published, they will then be indexed in a bibliographic database, and repackaged and commented upon by others in secondarysources. The designations of primary, secondary and tertiary differ between disciplines or subjects, particularly between what can generally be defined as the sciences and thehumanities. Primary sources for critic studying the literature of the Second World War aredifferent from those for a research scientist investigating a new drug for arthritis. Thecritic's primary sources are the poems, stories, and films of the era. The researchscientist's primary sources are the results of laboratory tests and the medical records of  patients treated with the drug. You should always check with your lecturer or tutor if indoubt.
2.0 Analyzing Your Primary Data
 Now that you've collected your primary data, its time to figure out what that data meansand what you can learn from it. The keys when analyzing your data is to pull outinformation that is the most pertinent to your writing, information you can highlight anddiscuss, and information that will support your claims (if you are making any).
Interviews are fairly easy to analyze, as you simply have to go back through the answersyou received and decide how to use them within your writing. You can group the answersinto categories and create a chart of how those answers may best fit within your paper or article.If you recorded the interview with a tape or digital recorder, you may want to listen to itand type a transcript of the interview. Since transcription is a tedious process, only usethis option if you need to.
When analyzing surveys, you want to get the raw data into form that you can manipulate.If you were using a numerical system or yes/no answer system for your survey, you mayfind it helpful to enter the results into a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. If the survey was an open-ended question style, see if you can fit your answers intocategories of responses.
Observations are more difficult to analyze because when you are taking notes, you oftenwrite down everything that you see. Start by organizing your notes into categories or bysome criteria. Once you have everything organized, see if you can make somegeneralizations about what you have observed.
Over-generalizing your results
Your first attempts at primary research will most likely include small groups of peopleand may not be representative of the population as a whole. It is important to remember not to over-generalize your findings--in other words, don't assume that your findings arenecessarily true of every person within the group or every person in a society.
Triangulation of Data
One of the benefits of combining primary research with secondary research is in the areaof data triangulation. Data triangulation is when a piece of data, a finding, or ageneralization is able to be verified with several different research methods. This helpsadd to your credibility and makes your findings stronger.For example, you are studying binge drinking on campus. You find national averages thatindicate that 45% of college students binge drink nationwide. You conduct your ownresearch at the Purdue campus. You find that 47% of the individuals you surveyed drink;you also interview a counselor on campus who reports that approximately 1/3 of thestudents who he sees suffer from a drinking problem. Thus, your results from aninterview with an expert and your own survey support the national averages.
3.0 Primary Data Sources
Primary data collection is necessary when a researcher cannot find the data needed insecondary sources. Market researchers are interested in primary data aboutdemographic/socioeconomic characteristics, attitudes/opinions/interests,awareness/knowledge, intentions, motivation, and behavior. Three basic means of 

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