10 Difference between Primary and Secondary Data with Table

What is the difference between primary and secondary data?

Data collection in statistics plays an important role during the analysis. The process of collecting data is divided into primary and secondary data.

The lesson outline the major difference between primary and secondary data in a tabular form for easier understanding.

What is Primary Data?

Primary data refers to the initial data collected through experiences, research, and shreds of evidence. It also referred to as raw data.

The main sources of primary data are experiments, observations, surveys, personal interviews, and questionnaires. Collect this type of data tends to be quite expensive.

What Is Secondary Data?

Secondary data refers to the data that has been collected by others. The data is normally available and can be sourced from government publications, journals, books, and websites.

The cost of obtaining the data is economical since it is readily available and it tends to saves on time. The information is normally not suitable for current situations.

Comparison Chart: Primary Vs Secondary Data

Basic Terms Primary Data Secondary Data
Meaning Refers to the initial data collected by a researcher Refer to the data collected by someone else
Data Real-time data Past data
Process Very involved Quick and easy
Cost Expensive Economical
Time Takes a long time Takes a short time
Form of availability Crude form Refined form
Accuracy and Reliability More Relatively less
Main sources Surveys, observations, experiments, questionnaires, personal interviews, etc. Government publications, websites, books, journal articles, internal records, etc.
Prejudice More Comparatively less
Form Raw data Categorized Data

Core Differences between Primary and Secondary Data

  1. Primary data examine crude data only whereas secondary has a wider coverage through research from other authors
  2. Primary data is more accurate and reliable whereas secondary data is relatively less reliable
  3. Primary data is more sensitive to current issues whereas secondary data is not suitable for current issues.
  4. Primary data takes a lot of time to collect whereas secondary data takes a short time
  5. Primary data collection is quite expensive whereas secondary data is quite economical during collection
  6. Primary data is in the form of raw data whereas secondary data is redefined data
  7. Primary data is prone to prejudice whereas secondary data less prone to prejudice
  8. Primary data entails no special precautions and editing, unlike secondary data which entails special precautions and editing.
  9. Primary data is more specific to the researchers’ needs whereas secondary data may or may not be specific to the needs of the researcher.
  10. The process of getting primary data is involving while that of secondary data is quick and easy.

Comparison Video


The core difference between primary data and secondary data is that primary data is first-hand information whereas secondary data is second-hand information.

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