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Definition:

In conducting research, information that has been gathered by other researchers and recorded in books, articles, and other publications.

See also:

Examples and Observations:

  • "Secondary sources are research reports that use primary data to solve research problems, written for scholarly and professional audiences. Researchers read them to keep up with their field and use what they read to frame problems of their own by disputing other researchers' conclusions or questioning their methods. You can use their data to support your argument, but only if you cannot find those data in a primary source."
    (Wayne C. Booth, Gregory G. Colomb, and Joseph M. Williams, The Craft of Research. University of Chicago Press, 2008)


  • Textbooks as Secondary Sources
    "A secondary source is a report on the findings of the primary source. While not as authoritative as the primary source, the secondary source often provides a broad background and readily improves one's learning curve. Most textbooks are secondary sources; they report and summarize the primary sources."
    (Don W. Stacks, Primer of Public Relations Research. Guilford Press, 2002)


  • Secondary Data vs. Primary Data
    "Secondary data is neither better nor worse than primary data; it is simply different. The source of the data is not as important as its quality and its relevance for your particular purpose. The major advantages of using secondary data are economic: using secondary data is less costly and time-consuming than collecting primary data. Its disadvantages relate not only to the availability of sufficient secondary data but also to the quality of the data that is available. Never use any data before you have evaluated its appropriateness for the intended purpose."
    (Scot Ober, Fundamentals of Contemporary Business Communication. Houghton Mifflin, 2008)
Also Known As: secondary data
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