What Is Primary Research
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What Is Primary Research? | Definition, Methods, & Examples

In our previous blog, we talked about secondary research definitions, their methods, & examples. We have also spoken about secondary research and its uses in research designs or to start your research process if you plan to conduct primary research. In this blog, we’ll explain primary research, discuss methods to gather data, and provide examples of how it’s applied in various fields. So, discover how this research can be used to solve research problems, answer questions, and drive innovation.

What is Primary Research?

Students frequently search for primary research. It is a type of research where researchers or students collect data directly. Simply put, this type of research involves collecting data directly from the source. It should not be published in books, articles, and reports. So, find a unique subject yet to be studied and start your research.

On the other hand, you can collect the data using various means, including surveys and interviews: focus groups, observational studies, and experiments. The choice of methods typically depends on the information needed and resources/budgets.

Examples of Primary Research

There are various examples of primary research. Even though they all help one to collect information, some may be time-consuming, and some can be more cost-effective. It depends on your resources and the type of data you want to collect for your research.


Interviews are the dialogues between a researcher and a respondent. A researcher asks open-ended questions, and respondents will answer them. This can be done on the phone or face-to-face. It is usually a successful method, but it is time-consuming, and the quality of data depends on the researcher’s ability to ask questions.


It offers a convenient and cost-effective solution for primary research methods. It contains pre-made questions for a group of audience. This type of data collection allows reaching a wider audience simultaneously and without much trouble. You should carefully consider the duration and questions to prevent respondents from becoming disinterested. It is also helpful to use a free survey maker, such as a forms app, to help you.

Focus Groups

Focus groups mean gathering a small group of people about a specific topic. The following group usually consists of 5-10 people. Moreover, it discusses a particular subject, product, or idea and gives an honest opinion on it. This method provides quick feedback and is often used by companies to understand their customers better.


In this method, a researcher doesn’t interact with the person they’re studying. They watch them directly or use cameras to see how they react to specific items. Moreover, the researcher collects information from these spontaneous moments. This method is unbiased because it lets people behave naturally in their usual surroundings.

Primary Research Vs Secondary Research Differences

Primary and secondary research are different approaches to gathering information, each with its characteristics. 

It also involves conducting surveys to collect firsthand data from. Secondary market research, on the other hand, is for analyzing existing industry reports and competitor data. Providing valuable context and benchmarks for the survey findings.


Primary Research

Involves directly collecting original data specifically for the research project. Examples include surveys, interviews, and observations.

Secondary Research

It involves analyzing and interpreting existing data, literature review, or information. Moreover, this can include sources like books, articles, databases, and blogs.

Data Source

Primary Research

Data will be collected directly from individuals, experiments, or observations.

Secondary Research

Data will be gathered from existing sources for research work.

Time And Cost

Primary Research

It is time-consuming and costly due to the need to design and implement research instruments and collect new data.

Secondary Research

Generally, it does not consume time and is cost-effective because it relies on readily available data.


Primary Research

Researchers control the research process, including study design, data collection methods, and participant selection.

Secondary Research

Limited control of the data. 


Primary Research

It will Generate original data that has yet to be analyzed.

Secondary Research

Secondary research involves analysis of data that has been previously collected and analyzed.

Relevance And Timeline

Primary Research

Often provides the latest and relevant data or information.

Secondary Research

This might include old data but can still help understand history or general patterns.

When To Use Primary Research

Primary research is when you do your research. You can ask a few questions or study something for a long time. The important thing is that you get the data yourself. It can help you learn more from other research that has already been done. It is usually for finding out new things that no one knows yet. Sometimes, people call it an original research technique because it is your work.

Types of Primary Research

Exploratory Research

Exploratory research is primary research investigating a subject matter to gather more insight. Moreover, this research helps the researcher or students understand an existing problem while highlighting different dimensions of the problem that would require further investigation. 

Usually, this research is carried out during the early stages of a systematic investigation, and it is also known as the grounded theory approach or interpretation research. Moreover, exploratory research is crucial because it lays the foundation for further study. It also helps the researcher channel their energy towards valid and researchable contexts.

Experimental Research

Experimental research is quantitative research in which the researcher triggers a change in the independent variable. And measures the effect of this change on the dependent variable. This effect is usually observed and recorded over some time to arrive at equitable conclusions. 

Despite its many advantages, experimental research is highly predisposed to human error. On the other hand, it is expensive and time-consuming. Pre-experimental and accurate experimental research are common types of empirical research.

Ethnographic Research

Ethnographic research is when researchers watch how things work in their natural settings. They collect and study the data to make sense of it. People use this research in different areas, such as business or medicine. It is beneficial for understanding complicated situations, like markets, customers, or users.

When Do We Conduct?

Primary research is used when individuals and organizations need to gather feedback directly from target markets instead of relying on already existing data. Also, it gives the organization more control over the research process and results in more objective research findings.

Questions Before Conduct Primary Research

Before you start conducting primary research, it is vital for you to clearly understand the research process by considering several things. For example, if you need to clearly define your research objective, data collection methods, and expected outcomes and understand your research biases.

Below, we add a few questions you should consider before starting working on that:

  • Aim of research? It would help if you defined the goal of your research clearly. This makes it easy for you to track your progress. 
  • Methodology of my research? There are different methods in primary research; you must outline which methods you will adopt. 
  • Your research subjects? Identify your research participants to help you plan your research process accordingly. 
  • How easy is it to access my research subjects? 
  • How would I access my research subjects?
  • Do I have any research biases? Understanding your research biases is important since it will enable you to make plans to mitigate them.  
  • How do I ensure that my biases do not affect my research outcomes?
  • What are my expected research outcomes?

Advantages And Disadvantages of Primary Research

Do you examine something from every angle before you use it? If so, then you may also do that for primary research. This part will explain the benefits and drawbacks.

Advantages of Primary Research

Data Accuracy

The most apparent advantage of primary research is data accuracy. The researcher’s direct involvement in the data-gathering process enables them to ascertain the authenticity of the data samples.

Data Recency

Usually, primary research tailors towards a specific issue, and researchers gather data in the wake of the moment. This leads more objective research findings.

Valid Data Interpretation

The organization’s needs guide how they analyze and understand the data from primary research. So, they make few or no broad statements that may not match the research context.


Primary research gives the researcher total ownership and control of the research data. gives a company like this an advantage over rivals who use secondary data.

Disadvantages of Primary Research


Primary research is quite expensive. It requires massive investments, which may not be readily available as not all individuals and organizations have such amounts of money at their disposal.


This research takes a lot of time and can be very tiring. Collecting data for over an extended period. However, they find this research unsuitable for urgent problems.


In some cases, primary research is not feasible and can be impractical. You can only get feedback from some people you want to sell to by interviewing them and getting direct information.

Research BIAS

Primary research collects data directly, which can change the research results, especially if there is an error. There are no other sources to compare with the data and ensure it is correct.

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Primary research is significant for businesses or organizations because it helps gather firsthand information about the market’s needs. Besides,  provides excellent insights. It usually informs product development and similar changes in organizational policies. 

You can use different tools when gathering data, including surveys, observation methods, and interviews. These are free and practical tools with many features you can use for better results.