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Dissertations - Skills Guide: Primary Research

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Primary Research

What is it?

Primary research involves collecting data from primary (original) sources. For example, your study may involve questioning participants through a questionnaire or interview, or it may analyse company or government documents, or study the impact of one variable on another. 


What are the benefits of primary research?

There are advantages and disadvantages of any approach. The advantages of conducting primary research are that it is current, as you have collected up-to-date data, and is accurate to your topic, as it should directly answer your research question. The disadvantages are that it can be time-consuming to collect and analyse the information and to plan and organise the research (so you have to be extra organised). 


How do I write it?

This is usually dependent on the data you are collecting. However, the layout when writing up primary research follows a similar pattern:

  • Introduction
  • Literature Review
  • Methodology
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion 
  • Recommendations (if necessary)

There may be some forms of research, for example some interviews, where you are expected to merge your results and discussion sections together, as you discuss the results in depth as each result is announced.