What is secondary research? According to our friends at GMI, secondary research is the analysis of research that had been collected at an earlier time (for reasons unrelated to the current project) that can be applied to a study in progress. Secondary market research can be an excellent tool for decision-making and identifying future trends. Furthermore, using secondary market research data is often significantly less expensive than primary research.

RMS partnered with a local community college on a very tailored secondary market research project. The focus of the research was to analyze the current and prospective job market within the Central New York area and assess the appropriateness of the college’s course offerings. RMS gathered Department of Labor data based on job availability projected over the next 10 years within the areas of the college’s current degree and certificate programs. Then, using a very deliberate methodology, RMS categorized the college’s programs according to this expected job growth or decline in each job category. A full demographic analysis and environmental assessment using secondary data sources was also conducted, giving a very detailed picture of both the labor market growth and labor force needs in the Central New York area. This was particularly important since the majority of the college’s students originate from the local area and typically seek jobs within the region.

what is secondary research

From this analysis, the college was able to identify programs whose demand would either increase or decrease in the coming years, based on the job growth and demographic trends. This project proved to be beneficial to the college by helping its educational offerings remain pertinent to area students and employers. Current and prospective students will have access to courses and degree programs that will correspond to jobs in high demand.

Market research using secondary data sources is an often used research service that RMS offers its clients. Also referred to as “secondary market research,” examples include demographic and psychographic profiling, feasibility studies, locational analysis and site selections. What is so valuable about secondary research is the ability to adapt secondary data as an effective tool for custom business solutions. Secondary research data is often significantly less expensive than obtaining primary market research data. Secondary research can be tailored to a client’s needs. Often, it is used to lay the groundwork for subsequent primary market research. Secondary data is information that has been collected for a purpose other than the research project in question. Trade associations and governmental agencies are often overflowing with potentially useful data. Often times the secondary data can provide enough information to meet the
objectives of the research. If the project cannot be addressed through secondary research, then customized, primary research may be necessary.

Notable sources for reliable secondary data include: the U.S. Census Bureau, the NYS Department of Labor and many other federal, state and local government agencies, as well as area economic development agencies. At Research & Marketing Strategies (RMS), we often assist our clients by first looking at available secondary data to address their particular research needs. Often times companies believe that they need to collect their “own customized” data, forgetting that an incredible amount of information is collected and published regularly. With today’s easy access to the Internet, many secondary data sources are available online. As a dedicated provider of market research, RMS has ready access to government and other proprietary secondary data. We also are familiar with where to find specific statistical information for particular industries. As with all market research, the key to analysis is being able to take the statistics and extrapolate useful information. It is critical to be skilled in interpreting the data and drawing conclusions and fact-based recommendations for effective decision-making.

If you are interested in market research and your business is wondering if there is any secondary research information available to assist you, contact our Business Development Director Sandy Baker at SandyB@RMSresults.com or by calling 315-635-9802.

This article was featured in the Summer 2005 edition of RMS News.