Integrated Primary & Secondary Research

5 Types of Secondary Research Data

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Secondary sources allow you to broaden your research by providing background information, analyses, and unique perspectives on various elements for a specific campaign. Bibliographies of these sources can lead to the discovery of further resources to enhance research for organizations.

There are two common types of secondary data: Internal data and External data. Internal data is the information that has been stored or organized by the organization itself. External data is the data organized or collected by someone else.

Internal Secondary Sources

Internal secondary sources include databases containing reports from individuals or prior research. This is often an overlooked resource—it’s amazing how much useful information collects dust on an organization’s shelves! Other individuals may have conducted research of their own or bought secondary research that could be useful to the task at hand. This prior research would still be considered secondary even if it were performed internally because it was conducted for a different purpose.

External Secondary Sources

A wide range of information can be obtained from secondary research. Reliable databases for secondary sources include Government Sources, Business Source Complete, ABI, IBISWorld, Statista, and CBCA Complete. This data is generated by others but can be considered useful when conducting research into a new scope of the study. It also means less work for a non-for-profit organization as they would not have to create their own data and instead can piggyback off the data of others.

Examples of Secondary Sources

Government Sources

A lot of secondary data is available from the government, often for free, because it has already been paid for by tax dollars. Government sources of data include the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the National Centre for Health Statistics.

For example, through the Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly surveys individuals to gain information about them (, n.d). These surveys are conducted quarterly, through an interview survey and a diary survey, and they provide data on expenditures, income, and household information (families or single). Detailed tables of the Expenditures Reports include the age of the reference person, how long they have lived in their place of residence and which geographic region they live in.

Syndicated Sources

A syndicated survey is a large-scale instrument that collects information about a wide variety of people’s attitudes and capital expenditures. The Simmons Market Research Bureau conducts a National Consumer Survey by randomly selecting families throughout the country that agree to report in great detail what they eat, read, watch, drive, and so on. They also provide data about their media preferences.

Other Types of Sources

Gallup, which has a rich tradition as the world’s leading public opinion pollster, also provides in-depth reports based on its proprietary probability-based techniques (called the Gallup Panel), in which respondents are recruited through a random digit dial method so that results are more reliably generalizable. The Gallup organization operates one of the largest telephone research data-collection systems in the world, conducting more than twenty million interviews over the last five years and averaging ten thousand completed interviews per day across two hundred individual survey research questionnaires (GallupPanel, n.d).


This page contains materials taken from: (n.d). U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. Retrieved from

Define Quantitative and Qualitative Evidence. (2020). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from

GallupPanel. (n.d). Gallup Panel Research. Retrieved from

Secondary Data. (2020). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from


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An Open Guide to Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Copyright © by Andrea Niosi and KPU Marketing 4201 Class of Summer 2020 is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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