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Disadvantages of Primary Research

Published by at October 21st, 2021 , Revised On August 29, 2023

Primary research is a data collection method based only on first-hand data collection and does not include data from previous studies.

It has a couple of benefits. Firstly, you would have collected first-hand data. You would be able to use it without any copyrights issues and will not have to spend any time finding the sources of the collected information.

In addition, it allows you to gather only the relevant data that is required to meet your research objectives. Finally, it increases the validity and reliability of your research. On the other hand, there are several disadvantages of primary research conduction. We will look at some of these disadvantages in this article.

Read about the advantages of secondary research

Read about the disadvantages of secondary research

Read about the advantages of primary research


Time is a significant drawback of primary research, not just in time spent collecting data but also in need for a well-defined and focused study strategy, the construction of survey instruments such as questionnaires or interviews, and the setting of experimental conditions. All these things cost time and money, which can be scarce in a study or research project.


One of the main reasons why research scholars and institutions eschew primary research is cost. It can take a considerable amount of resources to gather the accurate data, edit and take out the required information, then arrange it in specific software for the analysis, all of which is a substantial downside to this method.

Many researchers find that the sample size and the need to create unique survey instruments or conduct interviews exceed their resources or budget. For this reason, many researchers would omit primary research when writing a dissertation or conducting an experiment.

If you, as a student, find that you can’t get the data that you need without investing money, you may opt for secondary research or the collection of simple primary data.

Lack of Research Experience

The idea of primary research may seem to deter many students, so this could be one of the disadvantages. The process of interviewing the respondents and ensuring that they respond appropriately requires highly skilled expertise, especially ensuring that the questions asked are not biased in any way, whether they are multiple-choice or open-ended.

Suppose the survey instruments used are not objective or bias the respondent towards a particular response. In that case, this can lead to biased data and an unfeasible study due to the researcher’s lack of expertise and experience. In addition, many new researchers do not have the confidence to interview significant numbers of respondents, resulting in ineffective interviews and surveys.

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The selection of research objectives or study has to consider all possible aspects, significantly the main scope of the research project. It would be impractical to interview every consumer who walks into a shop. The information a researcher needs within a certain period may be challenging to obtain due to difficulties in accessing the target group.

In such situations, undertaking primary research is not practical. In tandem with this, it may be difficult to secure sufficient volunteers due to the global Covid-19 pandemic. Consequently, one of the significant drawbacks of primary research is its feasibility.


It can be challenging to collect primary data even when all other obstacles are overcome because recruiting a large population or sample is challenging. For instance, you may have access to a large group of students, but you want to analyse the effects of a particular trend on people over 50 years of age.

There is also the question of how to reach the required number of participants. Alternatively, the internet and web-based surveys can be helpful here. Still, it can be tough to guarantee that the respondent sample meets all the eligibility requirements, thus hampering accurate and valid data collection.


A significant drawback of primary research is that it is commonly disregarded. The data collected for the study is unique and therefore cannot be compared with other publications. This means that there is no alternative data set or previous work for the researcher to refer to if they make a mistake in the analysis or final interpretation.

However, this drawback about primary data does not mean that it should not be used; rather, the advantages and disadvantages should be carefully weighed when deciding which form of data is appropriate for your project.


Primary research is viewed as more valuable than secondary research because it deals with a specific topic and does not rely on data collected for any other reason. On the other hand, primary research is usually more informative than secondary research. However, conducting this type of study is more time-consuming and therefore more expensive.

Those collecting original data include government authorised organisations, researchers, research-based private institutions with sound sources and teams to execute primary research. Where does this put you as the student?

Do you think it is best to collect only secondary data to escape the pitfalls of collecting primary data? I guess NO, the optimal way is to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of primary and secondary research before deciding on a method that is right for your research project.

Need Help with Primary Research?

If you are a student, a researcher, or a business looking to collect primary data for a report, a dissertation, an essay, or another type of project, feel free to get in touch with us. You can also read about our primary data collection service here. Our experts include highly qualified academicians, doctors, and researchers who are sure to collect authentic, reliable, up to date and relevant sources for your research study.

Frequently Asked Questions

Performing primary research involves:

  1. Defining research goals.
  2. Choosing methods (surveys, interviews, etc.).
  3. Designing tools and questions.
  4. Collecting data from sources directly.
  5. Analyzing data for insights.
  6. Drawing conclusions based on findings.

About Jamie Walker

Avatar for Jamie WalkerJamie is a content specialist holding a master's degree from Stanford University. His research focuses on the Internet of Things, as well as areas such as politics, medicine, sociology, and other academic writing. Jamie is a member of the content management team at ResearchProspect.