By far the most widely used method for collecting data is through secondary data collection, commonly called secondary research. This process involves collecting data from either the originator or a distributor of primary research (see Primary Research discussion below). In other words, accessing information already gathered.
In most cases this means finding information from third-party sources such as marketing research reports, company websites, magazine articles, and other sources. But in actuality any information previously gathered, whether from sources external to the marketer or from internal sources, such as accessing material from previous market research carried out by the marketer’s organization, old sales reports, accounting records and many others, falls under the heading of secondary research.