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ENG 101: Foundations of Writing & Rhetoric

The official library guide fo Foundations of Writing & Rhetoric (formerly English Composition) classes at Minnesota State Mankato

What is primary research?

Primary research is original research.

When you do secondary research, you look at the research questions other people have asked, learn how they investigated their questions, and read about their findings. When you do primary research, you are the researcher. You identify the question or questions you want to answer, you figure out how to investigate the questions, and you collect and analyze data to try to answer your original questions. 

Examples of primary research are interviews, surveys, and observations. 

Here are a few good questions to get you started with primary research. 

  • What do I already know about this topic? What can I learn from existing research?
  • What do I want to find out? 
  • How have other people researched a similar topic or question?
  • Who or what am I going to interview, survey, observe, or otherwise study?
  • How can I recruit participants for my study?

Secondary research can help you answer these questions and develop your original research project!

Prepare for Primary Research

Analyze Your Data

After you gather data, you'll need to analyze it to make sense of what you observed and learned. 

As you look through your survey, interview, or other results, consider

  • What did you see in the data?
  • What do the results mean? What can you determine from the results?
  • Why do your findings mater? How do your results differ from the articles you read to prepare your research? How do your results compare to the findings of other researchers in this area?
  • What can you or others do as a result of your research?
  • How can you communicate your results to others? 

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