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Primary and Secondary Data
There are many ways to present your data.

Primary and Secondary Data

This geography quiz takes a look at primary and secondary data. Controlled assessment for your GCSE requires that you use fieldwork to investigate one question or hypothesis at a local scale. Primary data collection must take place within the investigation and it is acceptable to gather secondary data too. When producing your report of your fieldwork, you need to demonstrate that you know the difference between primary and secondary data and understand how to present it in an appropriate format.

Primary data is data that is collected first hand, that is to say, data that is collected by some sort of fieldwork in order to investigate a hypothesis or to answer a specific geographical question. An example of this could be to interview people to find out how they feel about a greenfield development.

The strength of such data is that it is collected in a way that is exactly tailored to answering the question or supporting/contradicting the hypothesis. To collect reliable and useful primary data takes a lot of very careful planning and preparation.

Secondary data is collected by someone other than the researcher, usually for a different purpose and it is always collected before the project. It is not therefore tailored to answering a specific question or supporting or contradicting a hypothesis. An example of this would be the study of aerial photographs to examine glacial features in the Lake District. It is unlikely that the person who took the aerial photos took them to enable the study of glacial features, but that doesn't mean they won't supply the researcher with the information they are looking for. The benefits of using secondary data is that it is usually less expensive in terms of time, money and effort than obtaining the information as primary data.

Raw data needs to be processed and analysed. It can be presented in many different ways and the method you choose depends on the purpose of the research. Numerical data can be presented as graphs or charts such as pie charts and other data could be presented in the form of maps, diagrams, photographs or a combination of methods.

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1.
A population census is taken once every 10 years. Which form of data presentation would be most appropriate?
Bar chart
Pie chart
Line graph
Radar (kite) chart
Since the data is continuous but sampled only once every 10 years, the bar chart would be the most appropriate method
2.
On a scatter graph, if the line of best fit slopes down to the right and all the points are close to the line, it indicates...
a weak positive correlation
a strong positive correlation
a weak negative correlation
a strong negative correlation
If it is difficult to decide on a line of best fit then the correlation between the two variables you have studied is weak or there is no correlation
3.
A student uses books and the Internet to investigate the distribution of pastoral, arable and mixed types of farming in lowland and upland areas of the UK. Their raw results are processed to work out the percentage of different farming types in each of the two areas. Which of the following would be an appropriate way to present their data?
Pie charts
Line graphs
Scatter graphs
A map
Whenever you are dealing with percentages, using one or more pie charts is an excellent way of presenting the data. The raw data could be presented on a map using a key to show the location of each farm for which data was obtained
4.
Secondary data...
must have been recorded prior to the project it is being used for
must be properly referenced in the report
can be qualitative or quantitative
is all of the above
If the sources of secondary data are not referenced, it could be regarded as plagiarism
5.
Which of the following forms of data presentation do not have an x-axis and a y-axis?
Bar chart
Scatter graph
Pie chart
All of the above
Pie charts are very good ways of representing percentages
6.
Primary data is...
data collected directly by a researcher during fieldwork
data collected by someone other than the researcher
data contained in a geography book
data obtained from the Internet
Obtaining primary data needs careful planning
7.
Which of the following is an example of quantitative secondary data?
Measurements taken by a student of the depth of a stream at different points along its length
Measurements of the gradient of a road obtained from the Internet
Answers to survey questions from a field trip
Observation of landslides from pictures of the Alps
Quantitative data must include measurements and secondary data is data that already exists
8.
Which of the following is an example of qualitative primary data?
Measurements taken by a student of the depth of a stream at different points along its length
Measurements of the gradient of a road obtained from the Internet
Answers to survey questions from a field trip
Observation of landslides from pictures of the Alps
Qualitative results do not involve measurement. Primary data is collected by the researcher
9.
Which of the following is an advantage of primary data?
You know it is definitely accurate
It is exactly tailored to the project
It is always available
It is a lot easier to collect than secondary data
There are no guarantees that primary data is any more accurate than secondary data and it always needs to be carefully planned in order to ensure it will be relevant to the project
10.
Which of the following charts would be appropriate to investigate the price of ice creams in London the further you are away from big Ben?
Pie chart
Bar chart
Scatter graph
Line graph
A scatter graph is an appropriate way of looking for patterns in a set of quantitative primary or secondary data
Author:  Kev Woodward

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