Bridging the business data divide.

Assignment Title

Analyze Secondary Data, Observation Research and Measurement of Variables

Books and Resources

  • Cain, N., Behar, E. (Academic). (2011). Research design: observational and correlational studies [Streaming video]
  • Lowry, L. D. (2015). Bridging the business data divide: Insights into primary and secondary data use by business researchers. IASSIST Quarterly…

Secondary vs. Primary Data and Observation Research

There are two main types of data in research: primary and secondary. Secondary data is information that has already been collected for a purpose other than the current study. This may have been compiled by other researchers, government bodies, marketing research organizations, and others. As you can imagine, secondary data plays a major role in this digital age and has the advantages of relatively low cost, ease of access, and timeliness. With the Internet, you now have access to more information than ever before. Of course, this also means that the researchers need to be cautious and only use quality data that will benefit the research design since it was not collected for the particular problem you are working on. This involves considering the source of the data, the timeliness, and how the research was designed and conducted.

In contrast to secondary data, primary data is information collected specifically for the given problem. There are essentially only two ways of collecting data, communication vs. observation. Communication is more versatile, allowing researchers to obtain information on past behavior, behavioral intentions, and a variety of cognitive phenomenon such as attitudes, satisfaction, opinions, etc. Observation is more limited to current behavior but the researcher watches for behavioral patterns of people, objects, and occurrences as they are witnessed. While there are both qualitative and quantitative methods that involve both communication and observation studies, the focus in this course is only on quantitative methods.

Be sure to review this week’s resources carefully.  You are expected to apply the information from these resources when you prepare your assignments.


This assignment consists of three parts:

(1) Sketch a research design using observation research for each of the following. Be sure to explain the procedure you would use:

  • A non-profit organization wants to know what Facebook posts are likely to be commented on, liked, or shared by stakeholders.
  • An executive of a major fast food restaurant wants to know how long a customer has to wait to get their order. The order is placed inside the restaurant, not in the drive-thru.
  • A researcher wants to know if the role portrayal of African American women in magazine advertisements has changed over the past 15 years.


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