Secondary data refers to the data which an investigator does not collect himself for his purpose rather he obtains them from some other source, agency or office. In other words, this data has already been collected by some other source and an investigator makes use of it for his purpose. Secondary data is different from primary data on the basis of the sources of their collection. The difference between the two is relative – data which is primary at one place become secondary at another place.
Sources of Secondary Data
Sources of secondary data can be classified mainly into two categories- (i) Published sources and (ii) Unpublished sources. Published sources: The following sources are covered in the category of published sources. 1. Government Publication: There are numerous publications of Central and state governments in India which are published regularly or from time to time. Data relating to various aspects of the economy and nation are published there in. Some important government publications are as follows:
a) Annual Economic Survey
b)Reserve bank of India Bulletins
e)Report or Currency and Finance
f)Statistical Outline of India.
2. Semi-government Publications: Semi-government publications such as reports and data collected and published by Banks, Corporations, Municipal Committees, Panchayats etc.
3. Reports of Commissions and Committees: Reports of various committees and commissions which are appointed from time to time by government and semi-government agencies.
4. Newspapers and Magazine’s Reports and Publications: Research articles and Survey Reports published by news papers and magazines such as The Economic Times, The Financial Express, The Economist etc.
5. Publications of Industrial Houses and Trade Associations: Publications of business and commercial houses such as DCM, Hindustan Lever, Hindustan Machine Tools etc. 6. Research Publications of Universities and Research Institutes: Publications of universities, Research institutes and individuals such as Institute of Economic Growth, India Statistical Institute etc.
7. Publication of Individual Research Scholars: Individual research scholars also publish data about their research work.
8. International Publications: International Publications such as Annual Reports of IMF, IBRD, IFC, U.N.O., ICO etc.
Unpublished sources: Secondary data is available from unpublished sources also. Many researchers and trade organisations collect information for various objectives which is not published. Many universities, labour bureaus and private scholars also collect data which is not published.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Data
Advantages of Secondary data
1.It is economical. It saves efforts and expenses.
2.It is time saving.
3.It helps to make primary data collection more specific since with the help of secondary data, we are able to make out what are the gaps and deficiencies and what additional information needs to be collected.
4.It helps to improve the understanding of the problem.
5.It provides a basis for comparison for the data that is collected by the researcher.
Disadvantages of Secondary Data
1.It is originally collected for some purposes which is specific and not known to the present researcher. In this case it may mislead to use the data
2.The accuracy of the secondary data as well as its reliability would depend on its sources
3.It is not updated regularly and not of much us in a dynamically changing environment