The primary data research is the process of collecting information directly from original sources. Being a key for research, the business analysts and data scientists use it to unlock a lot of operational links and loops. Its authenticity and validity makes it the first choice to pull accurate results and address the grounded up business problem.   

It is the firsthand information that no one has gotten before. In other words, it denotes unique and original information that directly relates to the current situation or problem. Various organisations allocate resources to gather this kind of data to address the problem that is sufficiently important for overcoming.

Primary data collection instruments:

1. Questionnaire: A questionnaire carries a series of questions related to the research niche. The distribution of questions and its layout are set while keeping the research topic into account. It looks like a question paper with blanks and space corresponding to the questions. Usually, its hard copy or digital copy is prepared. 


  • Keep the target audience and the research topic in mind while setting an array of questions.
  • Ask appropriate questions.
  • Draft open ended and close ended questions appropriately
  • Place questions in sequence and order.
  • Pretest its sample amongst a smaller group of target audience.
  • While collecting information, remember these four purposes:
    1. Collect only appropriate data
    2. Align it in a comparable and easy-to-analyse format
    3. Minimize bias in asking the questions  
    4. Ask engaging questions

2. Mail/eMail: An email or mail is an effective instrument of primary data collection where means of communication are scarce. It can collect data directly from the receivers whose Geo-location is far. This is how the respondents cannot be influenced by the researcher. As a result, the information would be unbiased.


  • Collect email address and postal address of the respondents prior.
  • Estimate the cost of couriers.

3. Telephone/Mobile Phone/Fascimile: These instruments are used for collecting data from the data subjects verbally or in writing through fax. They prove an effective mean of reaching respondents, located so far from the researchers. They attract a high rate of responses at the price of telecom charges, which is economical. Being telecommunicated, the target range covers national and international respondents.


  • Draft questionnaire to be asked verbally and in writing.
  • Keep the language of national and international respondents in mind.
  • Create engaging questions that boost respondents to answer instinctively.
  • Perceive the telecom charges.
  • Don’t integrate non-audio information, like graphs, taste, smell etc., as the telecommunication may not be possible everywhere.

4. Face-to-Face Interviews: It’s a one-on-one round between the informants and the inquirer. The question-maker should be smart enough to instinctively derive questions during cross-examining the informants.


  • Create an array of engaging questions.
  • Keep the research topic at the core while interviewing.
  • Choose an extrovert and experienced inquirer, who could collect data tactfully during the cross-questioning round.
  • Efficiently segregate the data for seamless data analysis.

Methods of primary data collection for research:

1. Survey method: This method is basically carried out for collecting quantitative data. The surveyor can choose the best instrument of primary data collection. It can be in-person meeting, telephonic interview or mail. Although this method consumes a lot of time, efforts and money, you gather the data that is authentic, accurate, current and relevant to the research. The surveys can be flexible in the senses that attract a wide range of information. These senses   include the study of beliefs, attitudes, values, demographics and past behaviors. The best thing is their viability. The surveyor puts the only questions that are research-specific. There remains no space for vague or erroneous data, as every question is standardized as per the interest of researchers.

  • Researcher-administered survey: This type of survey is administered by the researcher in the form of a structured interview.
  • Self-administered survey: This type of survey is administered by the respondents in the form of a questionnaire.

2. Observation method: It’s a complex method of data collection for research. The researcher has to play multiple roles and opt out diverse techniques & senses to gather information. He skillfully pulls the information bit by bit through his observatory lens. Only experts can do so. They are categorized data analysts and scientists. However, there are many apps and tools available in the digital environment to catch the data, like demographics, email id, consumer behavior and so on.

This method proves worth millions of dollars when reaching the data subjects is next to impossible and authentic data is difficult to get.

Advantages: Being advantageous, it is the most-sought after data for the market or business research. Let’s catch the reason of why it is beneficial:  

  • Being original and relevant niche topic, the primary data are highly recommended for the research. It keeps the degree of accuracy very high.
  • It is easy to collect from interviews, telephonic surveys and focus groups etc.. The researcher can employ emails and posts to catch it from across the national boundaries.
  • Its coverage area is a large population and wider geographical location.
  • Being current information, it gives a realistic view of the topic that circles the business productivity.   
  • You can rely on it, as these data sets are extracted and compiled from the original sources by the reliable party.


  • The coverage of primary data collection becomes limited, if the information from interviews is concerned. However, the actual requirement may be bigger than that.   
  • Being related to current problems, the immediacy is there to get the primary data. A delay can turn the extracted data into offbeat or outdated data chunks. Thereby, the purpose of the research will be no more.
  • When it comes to surveys, the questionnaire should have simple and easy questions of the niche. The difficult language and confusing design can mar its motive.
  • The authenticity of respondents may be suspicious. Some respondents cover the flaws by fake reviews to hide the reality.
  • Its cost may skyrocket if the coverage is expansive. It will require more time, efforts and money.
  • Surveys and questionnaires often serve incomplete information, which casts negative impact on the research.
  • Inexperienced data collector doesn’t know about adequacies. Thereby, inadequate data can ruin the purpose of data mining.