Secondary research exploits published sources like surveys, books, and magazines, applying or rearranging the information in them to bear on the problem or opportunity at hand. A tire sales business owner might guess that present retail sales of tires is strongly correlated with sales of new cars three years ago. To test this idea, it’s easy to compare new car sales records with replacement tire sales three years later. Done over a range of recent years, this should prove or disprove the hypothesis and help marketing efforts tremendously.
There are many sources of secondary research material. It can be found in libraries, colleges, trade and general business publications, and newspapers. Trade associations and government agencies are rich sources of information GALES’ Directory is available at any public library.
- Sources of Secondary Research:
- ASAE Directory of Associations Online
Ask a Librarian U.S. Library of Congress
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Business Research Lab
Center for Business Women’s Research
Economic Statistics & Research
Internet Public Library
Population & Demography Resources
Primary research can be as simple as asking customers or suppliers how they feel about a business or as complex as surveys conducted by professional marketing research firms. Direct mail questionnaires, telephone surveys, experiments, panel studies, test marketing, and behavior observation are all examples of primary research.
Primary research is often divided into reactive and non-reactive research. Non-reactive primary research observes how real people behave in real market situations without influencing that behavior even accidentally. Reactive research, including surveys, interviews, and questionnaires, is best left to marketing professionals, as they can usually get more objective and sophisticated results.
Those who can’t afford high-priced marketing research services should consider asking nearby college or university business schools for help. For more information, download the Missouri SBDC’s "Market Research Workbook"