Primary research is defined as a methodology used by researchers to collect data directly, rather than depending on data collected from previously done research. Technically, they “own” the data. Primary research is solely carried out to address a certain problem, which requires in-depth analysis.
Primary Research Methods with Examples
In this technology-driven world, meaningful data is more valuable than gold. Organizations or businesses need highly validated data to make informed decisions. This is the very reason why many companies are proactive to gather their own data so that the authenticity of data is maintained and they get first-hand data without any alterations.
Here are some of the primary research methods organizations or businesses use to collect data:
1. Interviews (telephonic or face-to-face): Conducting interviews is a qualitative research methodto collect data and has been a popular method for ages. These interviews can be conducted in person (face-to-face) or over the telephone. Interviews are open-ended method which involves dialogues or interaction between interviewer (researcher) and interviewee (respondent).
Conducting face-to-face interview is said to generate a better response from respondents as it is a more personal approach. However, the success of face-to-face interview depends heavily on researcher’s ability to ask questions and his/her experience related to conducting such interviews in the past. The types of questions that are used in this type of research are mostly open ended questions. These questions help to gain in-depth insights into opinions and perceptions of respondents.
Personal interviews usually last up to 30 minutes or even longer depending on the subject of research. If a researcher is running short of time conducting telephonic interviews can also be helpful to collect data.
2. Online surveys: Once conducted with pen and paper, surveys have come a long way since then. Today, most researchers use online surveys to send it to respondents to gather information from them. Online surveys are convenient and can be sent on emails or can be filled out online. These can be accessed on handheld devices like smartphone, tablets, Ipads and similar devices.
Once a survey is deployed, a certain amount of stipulated time is given to respondents to answer survey questions and send it back to researcher. In order to get maximum information from respondents, surveys should have a good mix or open ended questions and close ended questions. Survey should not be lengthy, else respondents lose interest and tend to leave it half done.
It is a good practice to reward respondents on successfully filling out surveys for their time and efforts and valuable information. Most organizations or businesses usually giveaway gift cards from reputed brands that respondents can redeem later.
3. Focus groups: This popular research technique is used to collect data from a small group of people, usually restricted to 6-10. Focus group brings together people who are experts in subject matter, for which research is being conducted.
Focus group has a moderator who stimulates discussions among the members to get greater insights. Organizations and businesses can make use of this method especially to identify niche market to learn about a specific group of consumers.
4. Observations: In this primary research method, there is no direct interaction between researcher and person/consumer being observed. Researcher observes the reactions of a subject and makes notes.
Trained observers or cameras are used to record reactions. Observations are noted in a predetermined situation. For example, a bakery brand wants to know how people react its new biscuits, observer notes the first reaction of consumers and evaluates collective data to draw inference.