Secondary data: definition and types

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Is secondary data new?

In front of the primary information, created ex profeso for a specific study, the researcher also Secondary data. These types of assets are valid information, already developed by other researchers and that can be very useful for a specific study.

It's clear that, far from being new data, son, in reality, quite the opposite. They are pieces of information that were created by someone other than the user, within the framework of a preliminary analysis procedure. on their own initiative and pursuing a different objective.

Equally, In addition, it may happen that these data have been previously generated by the same researchers O, in general, by the same organization that conducted the study or, in your case, who would have commissioned it from third parties. It is because of that, as a general recommendation, for economy and agility, The search for secondary data should always start within the organization, in order to start with internal data.

Regardless of whether they are obtained within or outside the organization, Primary data generated in one investigation will be considered secondary data when used in others to save time and money., since it would not be feasible to carry them out for obvious budgetary reasons or, simply, it is unnecessary because it had already been done in the past.

Secondary data types: internal and external

There is, as we said, two secondary data types, the interns, found in the organization itself, and the external ones, that come from third parties, sources outside the company. Therefore, secondary information can be divided in:

  • Internal secondary data:This is the name given to all the information available within the company, from accounting data or letters from clients or suppliers and supplier reports or surveys from the human resources department to, as an example, previous research.
  • External secondary data:is the data collected by sources external to the organization. They can be found in other institutions or companies, as census data, institutional statistics, government studies, of competitors, associations, research centers and data disseminated in journals, books, internet the, as an example, the same digital data.

After completing the internal information search, which is usually the first step in the data collection procedure for analysis, the researcher should focus on secondary data sources. external. To carry out this initiative, it is recommended that the organization's data analyst do good planning.

Ideally, you must act by following a plan in advance that guides you through the many sources available today. A) Yes, you could apply different criteria to your search, as relevance, possibility, cost, complexity or usability. This makes it easy for you to examine whether it is important to look for a data type from a particular source., or if the potential value you could get does not justify the investment of time, resources and effort.

The growing relevance of secondary information

The use of secondary data in research processes has been a common practice for years. Despite this, with the emergence of Big Data and greater ease of access to different sources of information, its use has been earned. strong momentum as a business intelligence tool.

There are many reasons to operate this way, even though the main ones are the following:

  • This information is easily accessible and inexpensive in most cases., with few exceptions.
  • Serves as a point of comparison of organizational results with respect to the market. In this way, a better contextualization and, at the same time, errors that could affect the conclusions of the analysis are avoided.
  • It is very useful to focus and establish new organizational projects. In the same way that secondary data from other research initiatives illustrate and complete the current analysis procedure, the same can happen with the current procedure and all the material that has been used to draw the conclusions tomorrow.


    • It makes it possible to estimate quantitative benefits for new organizational projects (KING).
    • Facilitate a more accurate estimate of future market behavior, based on facts and data.
    • Facilitates strategic decision-making by institutions, by contributing to the creation of a global and comprehensive vision of the reality that surrounds the business.

    Secondary data cannot be seen otherwise than as a valuable tool that helps provide a clear competitive advantage.. It is, therefore, It is essential that institutions allocate technological and human resources to the establishment of processes aimed at identifying, selection, validation (verification of its veracity, coherence and credibility), secondary information processing and analysis.

    Do you already know how to extract all the value of the secondary data available for your business? Do you have the tools and talent your administration needs?

Image source: hywards /

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