What are the sources of Secondary Data?

Collection of Secondary Data

The secondary sources can be classified into two categories via. Published and unpublished sources.

A. Published Sources

Generally, published sources are international, national, govt., semi-Govt, private corporate bodies, trade associations, expert committee and commission reports and research reports.

They collect the statistical data in different fields like national income, population, prices, employment, wages, export, import etc. These reports are published on regular basis i.e., annually, quarterly, monthly, fortnightly, weekly, daily and so on. These published sources of the secondary data are given below:

1. Govt. Publications:


The Central Statistical Organization (CSO) and various state govt. collect compile and publish data on regular basis. Some of the important such publications are:

(i) Indian Trade Journals

(ii) Reports on Currency and Finance

(iii) Indian Customs and Central Excise Tariff


(iv) Statistical Abstract of India

(v) Reserve Bank of India Bulletin

(vi) Labour Gazette

(vii) Agricultural Statistics of India


(viii) Bulletin of Agricultural Prices

(ix) Indian Foreign Statistics

(x) Economic Survey and so on.

Primary and Secondary Data

2. International Bodies:

All foreign govts and international agencies publish regular reports of international significance. These reports are regularly published by the agencies like;


(i) United Nations Organization

(iii) World Health Organization

(ii) International Labour Organization

(iv) Food and Agriculture Organization


(v) International Bank for Reconstruction and Development

(vi) World Meteorological Organization.

3. Semi Govt. Publications:

Semi govt, organizations municipalities, District Boards and others also publish reports in respect of birth, death and education, sanitation and many other related fields.

4. Reports of Committee and Commissions:

Central Govt, or State Govt, sometimes appoints committees and commissions on matters of great importance. Reports of such committees are of great significance as they provide invaluable data. These reports are like, Shah Commission Report, Sarkaria Commission Report and Finance Commission Reports etc.

5. Private Publications:

Some commercial and research institutes publish reports regularly. They are like Institutes of Economic Growth, Stock Exchanges, National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT), National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) etc.

6. Newspapers and Magazines.

Various newspapers as well as magazines also do collect data in respect of many social and economic aspects. Some of them are as:

(i) Economic Times

(ii) Financial Express

(iii) Hindustan Times

(iv) Indian Express

(v) Business Standard

(vi) Economic and Political Weekly

(vii) Main-stream

(viii) Kurukshetra

(ix) Yojna etc.

7. Research Scholars:

Individual research scholars collect data to complete their research work which further is published with their research papers.

B. Unpublished Source

There are certain records maintained properly by the govt, agencies, private offices and firms. These data are not published.

Limitations of Secondary Data

One should not use the secondary data without care and precautions. As such, secondary data suffers from pitfalls and limitations as stated below:

1. No proper procedure is adopted to collect the data.

2. Sometimes, secondary data is influenced by the prejudice of the investigator.

3. Secondary data sometimes lacks standard of accuracy.

4. Secondary data may not cover the full period of investigation.