Data can be obtained both from primary and secondary sources. Primary data refers to the data collected by the researcher for the specific purpose of the study. Secondary data are collected from the company record or archives, government publication, books research journals, web sites etc.
Primary source of Data.
Data collected from individuals through interviews, questionnaires and through observation is called primary data. Beside that primary data can be obtained through focus groups, panels and unobtrusive measures.
Focus Groups .
Group of people with a moderator to discuss a particular topic, concept or product is called focus group. Members of the focus groups are chosen on the basis of their expertise on the topic/concept/product. The role of the moderator is very important to make the session productive, successful and on track. The flexible location, time and free flowing format, unstructured responses produce the genuine opinions, ideas and feelings of the members. Discussion of focused groups could be shown at various location/regions/places with help of video conferencing.
The nature of data obtained from focus groups would be least expensive, quickly, analyzed, qualitative and not quantitative and will not reflect the opinion of the population at large. Focus groups are important when the nature of the study is exploratory, making generalization and conducting sample surveys. Such discussions are made and useful for some enlightened investigation as why certain products fail/succeed, why certain advertisements are effective/not effective, and why certain management approaches do well/don't do well.
The nature/purpose and composition of panel/focus groups is almost the same except that focus groups meet for a one-time group session while members of panels meet more than once. Panel studies are very useful where the effects of certain changes are to be studied over a period of time.