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Business Research Methods

Distinctions between Primary Secondary, and Tertiary Sources in a Secondary Search

The three types of sources available in researching secondary sources are primary, secondary, and tertiary. Primary sources represent original work that is obtained by research. This work is not interpreted or subjected to the opinions of individuals. Examples of primary sources of researching secondary sources include complete interviews, letters, memos, court decisions, labor data, census, laws, and many others (Cooper-Schindler, 2006, p.166). The information obtained from primary sources is very authoritative because it is original. The secondary sources used in business research are basically the interpretation of primary data. Some examples of secondary sources are textbooks, magazines, encyclopedias, newspaper articles, and newscasts. Many reference materials that individuals use for research fall under the category of secondary sources. An annual report is viewed as a secondary source internally because it is prepared from several primary sources. However, annual reports are viewed as primary sources by outsiders because they are representations of a corporation’s position. Tertiary sources of research are the interpretations of secondary sources. Such information is obtained from internet search engines, bibliographies, and indexes. All three types of sources are applicable in researching but the quality of results depends on the sources that are used.

Secondary Data as the Sole Sources for some Researchers

In performing research, some researchers find that the only sources of data available for their research topic are secondary. One of the reasons for such a case is an incident where the topic being researched has not been done before. This means that there is no primary information that is related to such a topic. The topic could also be concerning an issue that has risen recently meaning that it is very hard to trace primary information. Again, if the topic has not been researched previously, finding tertiary sources also becomes a bit hard. This is also applicable if the topic concerns a topic that has risen recently. In addition, the purpose, scope, authority, audience, and format of primary and tertiary sources available could be different from the ones that the topic could prefer. Some management questions in which the only sources of data feasible is secondary could be: why are our consumers running to our competitors? This would be more efficient if it is the first time that the organization is experiencing such a problem. Another question like why are our employees underperforming? Getting primary or tertiary information that concerns an organization that has not experienced such problems is a bit difficult.

Problems of Secondary Data quality Faced by Researchers

Researchers who use secondary data for their research experience problems that they must overcome so as to produce quality results. The quality of the researcher who could have researched on a certain topic of research may not have been standard. The accuracy and reliability of such information are also questionable basically as a result of the quality of the individuals who conducted the research before (Cooper-Schindler, 2006, p.186). The research needs of the current research could be different from the research needs of the past research. This means that the information provided by the secondary sources may not be very efficient. Some secondary the information available was obtained a long time ago. Many factors may have changed since then making the information outdated. The information provided by secondary sources is mostly provided for many organizations and is very general. To ensure that the information is accurate and reliable, the researcher can contact the individuals who were involved in collecting the data so that he can be sure of the level of accuracy. The researcher must take some extra steps and evaluate how the information was gathered, analyzed and presented.

Distinctions between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative research differs from quantitative research in many ways. The first distinction is in the purposes of the two types of research. The qualitative analysis aims at gathering information regarding the topic of research. The data obtained through qualitative analysis describes situations, events, and the interaction between people and things (Cooper-Schindler, 2006, p.198). On the other hand, the purpose of quantitative research is basically to test theories. The researcher doing qualitative research keeps a distance from the research so that he or she is not biased in analysis. Qualitative research focuses on understanding and interpreting the research data. Quantitative research focuses on describing, explaining, and predicting using the data obtained from the research. The researcher is actively involved in the research in qualitative analysis while he or she is limited under quantitative analysis. The sample size used in qualitative research is smaller than the one used in quantitative research. Under qualitative research, pre tasking is common while there is no preparation required under quantitative research. The data types used under qualitative research could be either verbal or pictorial. This data can be reduced to verbal codes especially with the help of the computer. Data under quantitative research is purely verbal and is reduced to numerical codes if a computer is used for analysis.

Differences between Data from Qualitative and Quantitative Research

The type of data used in qualitative research is different from the one used in quantitative research. Qualitative data deals with descriptions where it describes events, situations, and relationships between people and other things. Data used in quantitative research deals with numbers because it is used to test theories (Cooper-Schindler, 2006, p.196). The data that is obtained and used in qualitative research can be observed but cannot be measured. This is because the data is only required for descriptions. The data that is used under quantitative research can be measured. This is because the data is used to give predictions and this is obtained mathematically using defined formulas. Some examples of data that can be obtained under qualitative research include colors, textures, tastes, smells, beauty, appearance, and many others. On the other hand, data obtained under quantitative research include height, length, area, time, weight, volume, speed, cost, temperature, humidity, ages, members, sound levels, and many others that can be measured.

Qualitative Research Recommended

Being a manufacturer of small kitchen electronics wanting to determine if innovative designs with unusual shapes and colors developed for the European market could be successfully marketed in the U.S. market, I would carry out a case study in the United States. A study would be carried out where individuals in the United States will be presented with the small kitchen electronics. These electronics will be similar in shapes, sizes, and colors to those that sell in the European market. The reaction of the individuals from the United States will be used to come up with the necessary data. Reactions to shapes, colors, and sizes will be recorded. The colors, sizes, and shapes that will sell most will be recorded. I would use this type of qualitative research because it will help me obtain all the data that is important in making my decision. The information would also be accurate.

Reference

Cooper-Schindler, (2006). Business Research Methods, 9th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 162-221.

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