Secondary Data Analysis: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:05 What Is Secondary Data…
  • 1:33 Examples of Secondary…
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Deborah Schell

Deborah teaches college Accounting and has a master's degree in Educational Technology.

Businesses must gather and analyze information for many different reasons. In this lesson, you will learn about secondary data analysis and when businesses can use it.

What Is Secondary Data Analysis?

Mr. Cool owns a skateboard store and wants to open a second location in the next town. Before he makes a final decision, he needs to determine if there would be enough potential customers, and he needs to find the best location for his new venture. Let's see if we can help Mr. Cool with his problem.

Data that is collected can be primary or secondary. Primary data is original data that researchers collect for a specific purpose. For example, Mr. Cool could gather data directly from his existing customers by asking them about their preference for his new location. Mr. Cool would gather this information specifically to determine if he should open another location or not.

Unlike primary data, people collect secondary data for a different purpose other than the one for which it's used. Mr. Cool could use information from the most recent census, which gathers information on factors such as age, address, and earnings of households in a particular area, to determine if it would be profitable to open another store in the next city.

Secondary data analysis involves an individual using the information that someone else gathered for his or her own purposes. Mr. Cool could use the census data, but since he did not gather the information, it may not provide him with all the information he needs in order to make his decision. Secondary data is a cost-effective way of gathering information, as Mr. Cool did not have to pay to gather it himself, and it's already available to him.

Examples of Secondary Data Analysis

Since Mr. Cool did not gather the census data himself, he will need to examine how the data was collected and determine who was included in the study. If he had collected the primary data himself, he would already know what questions he asked and whom he surveyed. Using secondary data, such as census information, will require him to include this extra step to be comfortable using the information.

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