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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