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Many options would be available to an individual wishing to undertake some research and all involve the use of what is termed primary and secondary research. What is Primary Research? Primary research involves the collection and analysis of raw data through surveys, experiments, interviews etc. The data are analysed and the results or findings are then discussed and evaluated. New knowledge is produced, because the researcher gathers new information through direct investigation. What is Secondary Research? Secondary research is based on reading and it is sometimes called ‘library research’.

It involves reading what other researchers have written about the issues involved in a topic. The arguments of these researchers are compared and evaluated and conclusions are drawn. This is often called synthesising. New knowledge is produced, because the researcher synthesises the arguments of other researchers to draw a new conclusion. A cross sectional study is based upon the investigation of people at a particular moment in time, for example, finding out different people’s opinions about the coming war. Longitudinal Research

Longitudinal research studies individuals or groups over a period of time and even in some cases over years, for example studying the development of a baby from birth to six months. The problem with longitudinal studies in the time required to complete them, for example the person you are carrying out your study on may die. When researching you must be careful not to copy the other persons work. Plagiarism is the direct copying of someone else’s work and is against copyright law, however it is possible to use someone else’s work as long as the original author is acknowledged

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