What types of research data are there

The collection of research data may be a continuous or an occasional (ad hoc) activity of the organization. Usually there is a requirement for both approaches since they serve different purposes. Some information is already available and simply needs organizing if it exists within the organization (internal), or tracking down if it is available from elsewhere (external). These activities form the basis of desk or secondary research. Other data needs collecting and organizing before being usable and this is known as field or primary research. In many markets (mainly for consumers) standardized services carry out primary research on a regular basis and the user simply buys the information produced or the service offered. The term 'off-the-peg' is used to describe this type of research. Most organizations will also have a need for data more specifically geared to particular problems and this is when 'made-to-measure' research is required.

These six types of research are introduced briefly in this section and discussed more fully in later chapters.

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