Integrated Primary & Secondary Research

2 Pros and Cons of Research

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Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Research

If enough information cannot be found through internal or external secondary data to solve the NPO’s problem, the organization will then proceed to design a study wherein they will collect Primary Data; information collected for a particular research question or project.

Primary research often is richer and more directly useful, but it also has its downsides. The term primary research is widely used in Academic Research, Market Research, and Competitive Intelligence. Primary research aids organizations with obtaining information directly from sources themselves, instead of relying on the research of others.

Displayed in the table below is a detailed pro and cons list on Primary Research. It lists several advantages and disadvantages and provides brief information on each component.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Research


  • Specific. The NPO gets to define the goals of the research and focus the research on its own objectives.
  • Proprietary. The NPO can keep the results private.
  • Controlled. Not only does primary research enable the NPO to focus on specific subjects, but it also enables the researcher to have higher control over how the information is collected.
  • Information. Primary research can be used to yield more data and survey a larger sample. Providing users with more detailed information.
  • Quantitative Data. Primary researched tends to provide numbered data that is measurable using metrics. This data can be organized into information and used to provide insights and knowledge from a subject.
  • Costly. Primary data may be very expensive in preparing and carrying out the research. The cost can be incurred in producing the paper for questionnaires, paying staff members, or renting equipment for an experiment.
  • Time-consuming. Primary data collection requires the development and execution of a research plan. It takes longer to undertake primary research than to acquire secondary data.
  • Low Engagement. Primary research can be hard to gain volunteers to participate in primary data collection if there are no rewards. This information may be hard to use if there are a low number of responses.
  • Inaccurate Data. Information obtained from Primary Research may not always be accurate. This information may also describe what people think and believe but not necessarily how they behave in real life.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research

Like primary research, secondary research offers pros and cons. Similar to the table provided above, lays a table below displaying detailed pros and cons list on Secondary Research. It lists several advantages and disadvantages and provides brief information on each component.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research



  • Inexpensive. The costs are shared or already paid.
  • Rapidly accessible. The data has already been collected and analyzed.
  • Large sample size. The pooled resources of the government agency or trade organization allow it to survey thousands or millions of people.
  • Reliable. The external research organization may have years of experience in gathering and analyzing a particular type of data
  • Historical Documents. This data has already been researched and vetted by others and is used to build a basis for the subject of a not-for-profit organization.
  • Dated. The secondary research may have been done months or years before.
  • Widely disseminated. A competitor may have access to the same information when they devise their strategies.
  • Generic or off-target. The goals of the external research organization may be different from those of the company.
  • Difficult to Obtain. Relevant data may become hard to find or be outdated. Some research may even be costly to purchase or be currently non-existent.
  • Different Purpose. Data in Research may be utilized for different grounds, making the information irrelevant to the organization’s topic.


This page contains material taken from:

Learning, L. (2020). Introduction to Sociology. Retrieved July 27, 2020, from

Primary Market Research. (2020). Retrieved July 23, 2020, from

Sagepub (2006). Research in Nonprofit Organizations. Retrieved from

Types of 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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