Some useful information can come from outside the organisation as well, either by interviewing customers or examining published information. This is called primary and secondary research. Primary Sources Any original information is referred to as primary information or a primary source. It is conducted by others on behalf of the organisation, is specific to its needs and will involve methods such as questionnaires, observation, group discussion and interviewing. Secondary sources There are two types of secondary research – desk research and external information.
Any information obtained from sources internal to the organisation, such as accounting records, stock records or sales sheets, is described as desk research. External information is when organisation makes use of published research that was not carried out specifically for that company but which is available and can be used by the organisation. It may involve searching through publication by the government, trade association, media, trade directories and others. It can also be obtained from websites or from sources such as the market research company Mintel. Currency and life expectancy of information
We live in ever changing world, and what is current and correct today might be outdated very quickly. Many industries develop extremely fast. For example, the computer technology and communication industries have changed almost beyond recognition in the last 20 years. We must therefore recognise that the currency of our research information – i. e. how up to date it is – is vital for conclusion that are true and valid. So it is essential to ensure that the information we acquire is as current as possible by checking publication dates on books, newspaper and journal, and also ‘last updated’ dates on website.
Validity of information Once information has been gathered, it is important to try and determine how valid the information is – in other words, is it accurate, relevant and truthful? An important question to ask in determining the validity of your research information is ‘who wrote this information and where their motivation in writing it? Much of the information that you find may well be valid, but some may be misleading. Some sources are clearly more reputable than others. If you read a political article in the Daily report, is it likely to be as reliable as one written in The Times?
Quality newspapers are generally well researched and their published articles are more likely to be reliable (bearing in mind that each will have its own editorial or political slant). However, the same cannot be said of all of the popular dailies, some of which seem to aim to shock, titillate and entertain rather that presenting an objective and well informed article. This problem is much worse on the internet. There is no regulation of content on the worldwide web, so you have to very critical about what you read on websites. Clearly information from reputable known providers, such as www. bbc. co. uk or www. telegraph. co.
uk, is to be trusted, but many others contain inaccurate information. (How far do you think you trust the Wikipedia website? ) Some are even deliberately set up to deceive the reader or aim to fool you into reading someone else’s opinion. Some of the spoof sites are set up for a joke, but it may not be possible to believe that they give accurate information. So when you researching on the internet, take care, because not everything you read will be true. Remember that much of what you read is opinion, and opinions are not facts. You should be critical when you look at different sites in order to indentify those that are out to fool you.
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