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D.2 Step 2: Secondary research

Secondary research is also called ‘desk research’. This means that you should find out (simply from your desk) what is already there before collecting new data. Check out whether the same or similar data have already been collected in your country and who has collected them. Additionally, you can look for data collection of the same type in other countries and from the conventional sector. Knowledge about market data related to conventional agriculture will be useful for you later on when you check the plausibility of your data (see Step 8, "Quality Checks").

Checklist: Where can you look for organic market data in secondary research?

  • Online databases (i.e. published by the EU like Eurostat, national governments, trade associations, other relevant organisations for (organic) farming; scientific databases like the free-to-use AgEconSEarch)
  • Online and print publications (scientific and/or relevant for farmers, processors, retailers etc.)
  • Websites of national and international organisations on organic, but also conventional farming

With secondary research, you can find not only relevant data, but you can also find out about how other organisations or people have conducted their data collection. From this kind of information, you can get valuable ideas and suggestions for your own research, e.g. for sampling, the method of data collection or for questionnaire design. When doing secondary research, you should consider whether the published results are really trustworthy and reliable. If your desk research has shown that the data you are interested in do not yet exist, you can go ahead with planning your own data collection in more detail. The first point you will have to decide is from whom you will collect your data – this is part of the so-called sampling procedure.

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