Using Information

P1 & 2- James Mellor

Primary, Secondary Data & Specific Functional Areas (and Qualitative & Quantitative Data)

  • Primary data is data that is collected by the researchers or by a business after they have gained a suitable amount of knowledge from analysing the secondary data they have already collected.
  • Secondary data is data collected by someone other than the researcher, for example the data may come from an external source such as a census.
  • Qualitative data is data that cannot be measured by numbers, for example, a psychologist may observe their relationships.
  • Quantitative data is information that can be stored in numerical form, for example it could be a persons weight, height or shoe size.


Specific Functional Areas


  • Marketing: This is the department in a business that is responsible for making ad campaigns, or keeping an eye on the latest trends, as to have an edge in the market. They use this information to make sure that their business does not falter financially & makes a profit.
  • Purchasing: This department deals with what the company buys, so they may give advice on which products to purchase/which ones to stop investing in.
  • Manufacturing: This department focuses on producing time-scales on what they are producing, for example the manufacturers at a toy company would make a time-scale to show just how long it will take to produce a new toy range
  • Finance: This department gathers information on costs, for example they look at the income and expenditure of the business, and they will use this information to advise where to invest in the business to perhaps make more profits or to just balance their finances.
  • Administration: This department deals with the administration of the company, for example they may give out a survey to customers about their favourite product and then they relay the results to a different department, and then they will make sure to take the feedback on board.
  • Personnel: This department helps the workers to improve, so they may create weekly performance charts to try and motivate the workers to try to make more sales/ help more customers.
  • Sales: Similar to finance, this department is responsible for monitoring the sales of the company, and they may have the power to remove products from the shelves if they do not sell enough of it.

The Characteristics of Good Information

  • Valid- This means that the information should be unbiased, it should also be representative and verifiable. An example of this would be a sport report detailing all of the different teams in a football league, by a national newspaper.
  • Reliable: This is information that fits in well with other facts a person already knows about, and you also need to factor in how well you trust the source where the information came from. An example of this would be reading a news article on the BBC website, as BBC News is one of the most trustworthy sources available.
  • Timely: This is information that must be readily available to make a decision, rather than it being available afterwards. An example of this would be evidence provided to a jury/courtroom before the verdict is made.
  • Fit for Purpose: This is where the information must be relevant to the purpose that it is being used for, for example, a budget for the first few months of the year may not be relevant later in the year.
  • Accessible: This means you must be able to do calculations with the data provided, for example if you were given a long winded report, you wouldn't want to type it all again, you'd like to be able to get something from it immediately.
  • Cost-Effective: This means that the cost of obtaining the data should be less than the value of the decisions made by it. For example gaining information on a military needs to have cost much less than the benefits it will provide.
  • Sufficiently Accurate: This means that the information needs to be accurate, however it does not necessarily have to be 100% accurate, for example if you were buying a car, you will need to know the running costs, however these numbers don't have to be exact as there will be varying prices for it
  • Relevant: This means that the data must be relevant, as there is no real point in collecting data that won't mean anything. An example would be doing research on cars, but also collect some data about the depth of the snow on Mount Everest.
  • Having the right level of detail: This means that the data has a sufficient amount in it, but not too much data. For example if you were researching different colours of cars that drive past, you'd only stay there for around 10 minutes, not an entire day.
  • From a source where the user has confidence: This is how believable the information is, for example you would believe a story more if it were reported in many newspapers, rather than just one.
  • Understandable by the User: The information must be at the level of the user. You shouldn't make information that is too complicated or too dumbed down for the user to understand. An example would be you wouldn't give a journalist a paragraph of data for a story, or an entire novel's worth- you'd give them enough for them to work with.