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MGMT 2200: Research Methods in Business

Schumann Library: Course Guide

What Are Primary Sources?

Primary sources are contemporaneous materials that provide direct evidence or eyewitness accounts of a subject that is under study.  Such materials may include books, maps, diaries, manuscripts, letters, artwork, contemporary newspaper articles, advertising, photographs, films, recordings, scientific data, and social media. 

What are Primary Sources in Business Research?

Primary sources are materials that are closely related to, or have been issued by, the company that is being studied.  Examples of primary sources include:

  • Advertising
  • Annual financial reports
  • CEO autobiographies
  • Company announcements
  • Corporate social media
  • Interviews with company officers
  • Legal documents
  • Patent Applications
  • Presentations
  • Prospectuses
  • SEC filings

What Are Secondary Sources in Business Research?

Secondary sources are materials that report on, analyze, or interpret business events, and that have been created by people or agencies outside the company that is being studied. Examples of secondary sources include: 

  • Analytical reports 
  • Biographies
  • Business news articles
  • Company histories or profiles
  • Government reports
  • Industry forecasts, outlooks, and trends
  • SWOT analyses
  • Trade publications