Is secondary research sometimes enough?

02Mar09

I am working right now on an article about a social issue that has been a topic of discussion in India for some time now. Enough has been said and written about it (so why am I writing more?! this article looks at tracing the roots of this problem and its “progress” and current activism against it). I read up a lot on it and took some quotes form published magazine and newspaper articles (with attribution) and used them to flesh out the scenario.

The editor sent it back for some reworking and one of the things she mentioned in the email was the fact that most of my data was pulled from other sources and so could I go out and get some quotes from the various stake-holders for the piece.

So here is the thing.

I believe that secondary data in some cases is sufficient, say in such a piece given that it was more analytical in nature and quotes only added layers to the understanding. What would primary research data do in such cases? Especially now with google bringing the world with its overload of information to your finger-tips, is it absolutely imperative to go out and do primary research to answer every question? How does it add value? This is a general research question and I am curious to understand the unique value that primary data can bring…

What are your thoughts on this?

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