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By far the most widely used method for collecting data is through secondary data collection, commonly called secondary research. This process involves collecting data from either the originator or a distributor of primary research. In other words, accessing information already gathered.
In most cases this means finding information from third-party sources such as marketing research reports, company websites, magazine articles, and other sources. But in actuality any information previously gathered, whether from sources external to the marketer or from internal sources, such as accessing material from previous market research carried out by the marketer’s organization, old sales reports, accounting records and many others, falls under the heading of secondary research.Internet has changed how secondary research is accessed by offering convenience (e.g., online access from many locations) and generally standardized usage methods for all data sources.Researchers are often attracted to secondary data because getting this information is much less expensive than if the researchers had to carry out the research themselves.Secondary research is often used prior to larger scale primary research to help clarify what is to be learned . For instance, a researcher doing competitor analysis, but who is not familiar with competitors in a market, could access secondary sources to locate a list of potential competitors.