Primary data in market research

4 min read

Primary data in market research is the first-hand data that is closely related to the issue that needs to be addressed.

Primary data in market research is the first-hand data that is closely related to the issue that needs to be addressed. They are consciously collected from the relevant respondents to generate original information that can be used directly to solve the marketing problem.

Assume a manufacturing company wants to solve an issue of quality check. The initial data they receive from the manufacturing units and appropriate stakeholders is primary data. The data needs to be accurate and requires lots of effort. The quality and amount of primary data are critical to the success of marketing research. In reality, no research task can be completed without collecting primary data.

Primary data in market research may come from interviews, focus groups, and observations of strategically planned activities. Survey methods can collect data by asking questions from participants who might have the appropriate information. Personal interviews or online surveys are a great way to access information. Studying customer behavior on your website or observing their experience with your pilot product are examples. You may read our latest blog on market research applications to learn more about them in detail.

The expert network industry is another great way to access primary information. They make great sources of reliable data that is dynamic and relevant to an increasingly complex world. Real-world insights from a seasoned professional who is on the job become handy when you can’t find the right answers in already existing information sources. Expert network platforms like CleverX give anyone the opportunity to engage with the brightest minds over a project that is time-specific.

Backtracking primary data

Primary data is frequently founded on scientific method principles, philosophy of study initially created in the nineteenth century by John Stuart Mill in his book Philosophy of the Scientific Method.  

The goal of source classification in scholarly writing is to assess the independence and dependability of sources. Though the phrases primary source and secondary source originated in historiography to track the evolution of historical ideas, they have since been used in a wide range of areas. 

Examples of primary information

A primary source in scientific literature is the first publication of a scientist’s new data, discoveries, and hypotheses. Documents such as official reports, speeches, pamphlets, posters, letters from participants, official election returns, and eyewitness stories are examples of primary sources in political history. 

There are three categories of written sources:

  1. Narrative or literary sources tell a tale or convey a message. They are not restricted to fictional sources (which can provide information on current attitudes) but can include diaries, films, biographies, prominent philosophical works, and scientific works.
  2. Charters and other legal papers that generally follow a prescribed format are examples of diplomatic sources.
  3. Organizations generate social papers such as birth and death registries and tax records.

Design for primary data research

It’s a customized framework that targets your research objectives and aims to collect the responses from a diverse set of surveyees, answering your research questions. It mainly focuses on some of the aspects such as:

  • What kind of information do you require?
  • The study’s location and timeframe
  • Participants and information sources
  • Hypotheses and variables (if relevant)
  • Methods for gathering and evaluating data

An appropriate research design sets the boundaries up to which you have to focus your whole research so that you don’t deviate from your goal and ignore all the unnecessary details. Your study’s reliability and validity are determined by how you collect, measure, analyze, and interpret data. A solid research design is critical to the success of a study proposal, scientific publication, dissertation, or market research.

Primary research methods


One-on-one discussions (either in-person or virtual) are great for a natural conversation that allows you to watch the respondent’s body language while you’re asking questions.


A survey is a popular method of data collection to acquire useful information from certain groups or persons following the study setting. To get insight into the study subjects, a questionnaire including standard closed-ended questions and open-ended questions is frequently administered.


Observation-based research helps you better understand the customer’s product journey as you identify the UX, roadblocks that might need to be addressed, and which aspects of your customer journey can be made simpler.

Data analyses

This technique can be adopted in those scenarios where the sample size is much bigger, so there is a need to sift through all the responses collecting only the valid ones. In this stage, the researcher examines data samples to construct a logical pattern that validates or rejects the hypothesis. It is a time-consuming process, and that’s why the results obtained are much more accurate and reliable.

Focus groups

A handful of well-selected people sample your product or service, watch a demo, provide feedback, and respond to specific questions that you may want to test.

Mistakes to avoid while conducting primary data research

Among the many things that can go wrong during your primary data research are:

  • not knowing where to garner information from
  • getting them from feeble sources
  • researching the wrong group
  • relying on set data
  • not accounting for personal research biases, etc.

One can avoid these mistakes when one makes room for them and spots them before it’s too late. Here are a few most common mistakes to avoid and suggestions on how to go about avoiding them.

Population specification error

While conducting any field survey, one needs to be sure which type of audience they need to target. No matter how many responses you collect, if they aren’t targeting the right masses, it would not fulfill the need to conduct research. 

Selection error

Before heading towards any research, one needs to have a sample size ready and the type of respondents we are looking for. But there isn’t any surety; most of the time, all the responses are valid only. To avoid such an error, we must focus on quality rather than on quantity.

Non-response error

It doesn’t matter much how well one has designed their questionnaire. There will be some respondents who wouldn’t follow through with the research. Sending them reminders or having a backup is useful in such cases.

The role of secondary data in market research

Oftentimes, there is no one-stop solution in research. One methodology may segue into another to only make the study more valid. Secondary data can solidify your primary research goal and plan. No business is ready to invest enormous funds on something that is novel without adequate information. This may mean your primary research uses other reference points or indicators. Your website and social media analytics, consumer reports, trade publications, sales reports, etc., are good places to start.

After sensing the market environment, it’s easier to formulate questions for surveys, polls, interviews, and so on. 

Final notes

The study of primary data in market research is crucial to any research. Although it might be a lengthy procedure, it gives first-hand knowledge, which may be preferable.

CleverX lets businesses find their own set of leading industry people to conduct their market research, resulting in data that is not 100% authentic but also reliable. Take a look at how we are changing the market research industry and how research firms are making a hit with us!

Get the latest market research insights