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Monday, September 3, 2012

Primary and Secondary research

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The address for the Researchit blog

Gathering and harvesting!

Regardless of the topic, you should be doing secondary research at this stage to establish your knowledge and understanding of the topic you have chosen to research. Once you have comprehensive secondary knowledge it is then time to start deciding on the primary research you wish to conduct.

Just a reminder about the two types of research:

* Secondary research is based on the findings from other people's research. It involves the gathering of the results of other's research from books, reports or the Internet. Selections or summaries are made of the research allowing for evidence to be gathered to support your conclusions.

Secondary research may include:

* statistical analysis where information is readily available from the census studies, Australian Bureau of Statistics, local councils and other government bodies, is analysed to give a notion of the need for a particular target market for a project. This may be useful for establishing if there is a genuine need for a project.

* information research, including all forms of print, that is, texts, magazines, journals, pamphlets. It also includes electronic sources. These need to be checked for reliability and relevance. Anyone can publish on the Internet. Print sources should not be too out of date. Use your school and local librarians, they are trained to help you find information.

* Primary research
is the research you generate by asking questions, conducting trials and collating results. This research can take the form of quantitative research ('countable' data collection) or qualitative research(opinion/knowledge data gathering).

The most common way of collecting primary data is through surveys/questionnaires and interviews.

* A survey is usually general and covers a wide range of issues. It is designed to find information rather than to investigate specific questions about an issue. We tend to use surveys when we don't know about something and we want to identify the most important ideas, questions and issues.

* A questionnaire usually focuses more on a particular topic or issue. We tend to use these when we know something about the topic and we have some hunches about what might be the most important issue or questions to investigate.

* Interviews can be face-to-face or over the telephone or Internet. It is crucial to have a list of questions prepared. This helps prevent being side tracked and ensuring the information you require is collected. These questions may provide insight into the development of your project, as you should endeavour to seek expert advice. After all designers often work as part of a team when brainstorming ideas and solutions to problems. Many have spent their lives building up knowledge in specific areas. The yellow pages are an easy way to get in touch with such experts.

Considering the secondary research you will do for your assignment, I suggest you use the more specific questionnaire and interviews as part of your primary data collection.

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