Primary and secondary data:
Primary data is data collected specifically for the research enquiry being conducted. You could think of this in terms of generating fresh evidence of your own for the dissertation. Your dissertation will include at least some primary evidence. However, research should not be thought of specifically in terms of collecting primary data, and your dissertation will involve at least some secondary data - in the literature review - but it is likely that you will make use of other secondary sources, to a lesser or greater, extent in the research part as well. This might include statistical data already collected and analysed by your organisation, or company reports. Although these were collected with a different purpose to your dissertation and so could be called secondary data, you can still carry out primary analysis of them.
Two points to bear in mind in using secondary data are to:
¨ remember that it was not necessarily prepared with your needs in mind and may, then, provide only partial evidence; and
¨ use original documentation rather than relying on interpretations by others - get hold of the actual figures rather than someone's summary, the actual policy statement rather than someone's interpretation of it in a letter, the original researcher's account rather than someone else's reference to it.