Doing dissertation research has never been easy, especially for first-timers. Having to read numerous documents, noting important points, interviewing participants, taking data, and writing could be depressing.
However, if you have completed your primary research, then doing secondary research may be easier for you. So if you are about doing secondary research, this article is just for you. We are aware of the stress you went through while doing the primary research, so we are here to assist you this time around.
What is secondary research?
Unlike primary research, where researchers collect data by themselves, a third party has already collected it. Such data can be collected from various websites, government sources, magazines/books, and past research on the topic. In secondary research, the researcher uses these past data to analyze current situations.
Methods for doing secondary dissertation research
There are three methods for doing secondary research.
- Secondary data set in isolation:
- Using both two secondary data sets
- Using both secondary and primary data sets
4 steps to doing your secondary research
- Get your research questions
Developing your research questions is an essential requirement for all types of researches. You may be fortunate to receive research questions from your supervisor when doing an undergraduate thesis. However, this is not the same for higher-level degrees. To come up with thoughtful questions, first, identify your research area/topic your aim. You then read widely on the subject, including previous research. If you identify any gap in them, set your questions around those areas. After all, your research is to build on knowledge on the chosen topic.
- Look for a secondary data set
After setting out your research questions, you then need to check on a secondary data set that suits it or reusable. Finding past data for your research would require reading several other pieces of literature on the chosen topic. You can get these data from government agencies, organizations, research centers or other researchers. If you chance on any search data, do the needful by contacting the original author and seeking their consent before using it. Beware that not seeking such authorization may create copyright issues.
- Data Evaluation
Some secondary data may not be fully compatible with your research purpose. The data collected may be very old or not fit for the current goal or contrary to your research questions. Therefore, you may need to evaluate the secondary data and realign it to suit your needs. You would need to assess the original research’s purpose, when the study was done, the methodology for collecting data. You need to evaluate and validate all these, identify the setbacks, and find solutions to them.
- Prepare and analyze secondary data
After your evaluation process, you need to prepare your secondary data set. In case you are doing quantitative research, outline the various variables you will rely on. Afterward, identifying them, save the file to the software you are cognizant with. Then find the missing data to make the work complete.