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Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Data


As is evident from the name, Primary data refers to data collected directly by an individual or an organization through first-hand experience. Since no third party is involved or referenced in this data collection method, the primary data obtained is also called original data. 

For example, a market research company collecting data will be considered a primary data producer. Suppose the government conducts a census on its own and refers to it for drafting policies. In that case, the government will also be regarded as a primary data producer, and data collected will be referred to as primary data. 

I will now list the advantages and disadvantages of primary data collection for conducting statistical research.

Advantages of Primary Data

Higher Reliability & Accuracy: Primary data is more reliable and accurate because it is collected by the party that is supposed to use the information itself. Since the data is to be used by itself, the first party is better incentivized to ensure the data collected is reliable and accurate. 

Increased Control Over Data Collection:  Primary data collection helps ensure data addresses the specific issue at hand and is collated in the manner needed to reach necessary conclusions.  When surveying to collect data, the way the questionnaire is designed can also impact the responses. In the case of primary data collection, these kinds of designed manipulations can also be avoided. 

Updated Data: When it comes to data, one of its most important aspects is its recency and validity because that is what makes the data useful. Secondary data might not always be up to date. Primary data, however, is always up to date because it is collected when a specific need arises and not as a generic endeavor. 

Proprietary Data Rights: Data collected by primary data collectors is, in many cases, used by the primary data collector itself, which means that the information is hidden from competitors.

Disadvantages of Primary Data

Time Consuming: The whole process of performing surveys, collecting data, and analyzing it takes a considerable amount of time. In the case of using a secondary data source, this time is saved since one uses data collected by third parties.

More Costly: Primary data collection is expensive because the process involves human effort, equipment, and process costs. In the case of secondary data collection, a third-party agency incurs all the three costs mentioned earlier.

Occasionally Unfeasible: While primary data collection might be desirable due to its accuracy and reliability, it becomes unfeasible in some cases due to the time and effort involved in conducting research. 

Incorrect Analysis: The amount of precision and care needed in conducting surveys and collecting data is enormous. If the survey is designed incorrectly or the data analysis is not conducted by an expert, errors can creep in during the data collection exercise. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Data Comparision Table

Advantages of Primary DataDisadvantages of Primary Data
Higher Reliability & AccuracyTime Consuming
Increased Control Over Data CollectionMore Costly
Updated DataOccasionally Unfeasible
Proprietary Data RightsIncorrect Analysis

Further Reading

Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Data

Precautions in Using Secondary Data

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Data
Advantages of Primary data include Higher Reliability & Accuracy, Increased Control Over Data Collection, Updated Data, and Proprietary Data Rights. Disadvantages of Primary data are that it is Time Consuming, More Costly, Occasionally Unfeasible & can sometimes lead to Incorrect Analysis. ,
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