What are the merits and demerits of Secondary sources of Data?

Secondary Data

Secondary data are those which are collected from published or unpublished sources. Such data are also known as the second hand data.

Moreover, secondary data are use in the shape of finished products since they have been treated statistically in some form the other. Data published by CSO, Economic Surveys, RBI Bulletins are the secondary data. In the words of Wessel, “Data collected by other persons are cal secondary data.”


Some examples are quoted to make a clear analysis of secondary data:

(a) Suppose we study the level of birth rate in Orissa between 1999-2000.

For this data cannot be originally collected. We can obtain the required data from different issues of Population Census published by the Govt.

(b) Suppose we study World Bank assistance to poor Countries. For this we get the data from different annual reports of World Bank which is termed as secondary data.



(i) Use of secondary data is very convenient.

(ii) It saves time and finance.

(iii) In some enquiries primary data cannot be collected.


(iv) Reliable secondary data are generally available for many investigations.


(i) It is very difficult to find sufficiently accurate secondary data.

(ii) It is very difficult to find secondary data which exactly fulfils the need of present investigation.


(iii) Extra caution is required to use secondary data.

(iv) These are not available for all types of enquiries.