Secondary Sources When Writing a Dissertation Methodology
When a student opts to use secondary data, it often means they prefer already published data. With this method, you are basically collecting data from other sources like an academic book, scholarly journals, and newspapers. What attracts researchers to secondary data is mainly because it allows them to ask broad questions and work with a large population sample. Since the data has already been gathered, the method is less time consuming and takes minimum effort to summarize the information.
Methods of Secondary Data Collection
Secondary data has already undergone statistical analysis since it is from other authors whose information has already been published. Secondary data can be obtained from either internal or external sources. Some examples of internal sources include:
- Customer personal details which have been given willingly.
- Sales report.
- Financial statements
When it comes to examples of external sources, the internet is a great source because using your favorite browser and a few key phrases. You can easily access an unlimited amount of data and information on any topic. Other popular examples of external secondary sources are:
- Government census
- Scientific studies and other literature reviews.
H2: Qualitative Versus Quantitative.
Secondary data collection and analyzing methods can further be divided into qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative secondary data can be from personal documents such as diaries and letters. They often function to give a better understanding of the person’s behavior or way of life. While such personal documents may be high in validity, they can contain personal biases. Hence it is hard to evaluate its accuracy.
On the other hand, the quantitative method is characterized by numerical data that can be visually presented in a graph, table, statistics, or charts. This helps to determine a stated hypothesis and gives a generalization of the expected results. Scientific measurements are essential for the accurate reflection of the impact of the results.
Advantages of Using Secondary Methods
The accuracy of the information presented in the methodology of a dissertation depends on the technique applied. One main advantage of secondary data is that is easily accessible hence is less time consuming to gather.
Besides, the analysis of data has already been done, which further lowers the cost of the dissertation. This method is ideal for searching with a tight budget. Other reasons why dissertation students would opt to use secondary data to write their methodology section include: Ability to get your hands on historical data that is impossible to produce using primary research because the information or event took place many years ago.
In cases where primary research is too expensive, secondary offers a viable solution to answer a research question. Besides, since another researcher has gone through the trouble of collecting data and surpassing any difficulties, it makes the process easier for someone who wants to use the data. It further provides more insights into what to change or which path to take to achieve the desired outcome and meet the dissertation’s goals.
Although invaluable, the main disadvantage with secondary sources is that their reliability and validity is highly questionable. Hence in most cases, they rarely provide exact information.