What is Secondary Data and How Does it Work


Secondary data is data collected from various sources such as the internet, reports, books, and other sources. In this regard, the data is collected through research for a specific purpose, but can be reused because it has relevance to research purpose or other purposes. Because this data is information provided to a second party, this data is then referred to as such. When collecting the data, it is important to check the credibility of the sources of information before using them.

In general, this data is alternative data from outside that can be used to meet larger data needs for analysis purposes. For example, in the multifinance sector, this data type can be used as data to check the correctness of files, documents and other administrative data that belong to the debtor. Then, the data can also be used to conduct credit analysis submitted by prospective debtors. The data or information has actually been collected by other parties before, so the company or institution does not need much time to get it and the data only needs to be processed and analyzed.

Based on the source, there are two types of this type of data, namely:

  1. Internal data sources: information collected by companies or organizations engaged in research. Examples are customer databases, sales reports, marketing analysis, and others.
  2. External data sources: data collected by other than the organization. Examples are government statistics, mass media channels, news, and others.

Meanwhile, based on the type of research, the data is also divided into two types, such as:

  1. Quantitative data: Data that can be calculated or measured by numbers. Examples are weight and height, number of hours worked, number of sales per month, and so on.
  2. Qualitative Data: Data that cannot be calculated or measured numerically. Qualitative data can be in the form of sentences, pictures, symbols, and the like. Examples are hair color (black, brown, blonde), customer satisfaction, and others.

How to obtain secondary data?

The following are steps that can be taken to obtain it:

1. Define a topic: Before starting the search, first define the topic that will be used. After that, make a list of attribute searches and their goals.

2. Identify the search source: The next step is to choose the source of information that provides the most relevant data and in accordance with the purpose of the search.

3. Collect existing data: Once the data collection source is selected, check whether any previous available data is relevant to the topic.

4. Merge and compare: Once data is collected, combine and compare data to combine it into a usable format. Make sure the data comes from authentic sources.

5. Data analysis: Analyze the data that has been collected and evaluate whether the data really answers the problem formulation and answers the research questions or not.

It is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of the data as well, so that you can make the right strategies and decisions. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of this data type.


  • Easy access

The data has easy access. The internet greatly facilitates the process of searching for the data, as various types of sources are available only by accessing the internet on a computer or smartphone.

  • Time-saving and cheaper

Most sources of this data cost little or are entirely free. In addition to saving money, you can also save time and effort.

  • Produces new knowledge

Reanalyzing old data can lead to unexpected new insights and perspectives.

  • Longitudinal analysis

This data allows you to perform a longitudinal analysis, meaning that the data obtained can be compared with changes over a certain period of time. With this, you can see the difference over time.

  • Doable by anyone

Research on this data can even be carried out by people who are not familiar with data collection methods.

  • Available in large quantities from many sources

The data can be obtained from various types of sources and has a wide choice of topics.


  • Unspecific

The data is not specific because the data was collected with other purposes before, so it is potentially less relevant. Secondary data can provide a large amount of information, but not all of the information will suit your needs.

  • Not all data is high quality

The data may be of poor quality due to unclear sources of information, moreover the data is obtained from the internet. If you rely on the data for decision making, you need to re-examine where the information comes from.

  • Biased

The data is collected by other people, so that data may tend to be more in favor of that person’s perspective or opinion.

  • Not timely/outdated

Because the data was collected in the past, it may be that the information is no longer relevant and in accordance with current conditions or is out of date.

For companies and businesses, secondary data is the key to gathering information to get to know their customers better, so they can offer services and needs according to their customers’ needs. Although it has many advantages, this type of data also has some disadvantages that need to be considered. Therefore, before deciding to use it, you should first consider the situation and conditions with your business.




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