Limitations of Secondary Data

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It is rare that secondary data completely fulfill the data requirements for a research project. (Kinnear and Taylor)

slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Relevance
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Data fit - ranging from completely inadequate to very close
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Mismatch of units of measure
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Incompatible definition of classes
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Incompatible class boundaries
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Recency - information is too dated to be useful
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Internal data may be maintained at a level of aggregation too extreme be useful as inputs
slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Accuracy
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) It is very difficult to evaluate the accuracy of secondary data.  Before using secondary data, consider:
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Who collected it
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Why it was collected
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) How it was collected
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) The quality of internal secondary data may be exaggerated or biased
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Records may not be well maintained or organized
slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Availability
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) The data needed may not exist
slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Insufficient
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Secondary data may be located which is relevant, accurate and available, but incomplete for the purposes of closure (McDaniel and Gates)
slbl3.gif (530 bytes) The case of Census Data
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Data mismatch
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Census geographic areas not the same as geographic areas of interest to the company - often too aggregated.
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Census category changes
    slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Dated nature of census data
  slbl3.gif (530 bytes) Mismatch between purpose collected and purpose used.
         

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