Collecting information from existing sources

Collecting information from existing sources

It is not always necessary to collect data yourself. You can also use existing sources. Think of data files that you can buy from, for example, SCP or CBS, but also your own administration or cash register registration system. 

You use existing databases if you want to know more about a specific subject on which data is collected nationally or if you want quantitative data about your own organization. A lot of data is already being collected. Use it wisely.


  • Formulate a clear purpose and research question and sub-questions that you seek answers to with existing research sources;
  • Provide keywords and search terms derived from your purpose and research question. This will give you a clear direction to look for relevant sources;
  • Collect current information;
  • Make sure the sources are relevant to your problem statement;
  • Keep track of which information you get from where, so you and your client can see which sources were used;
  • The information provided by existing data sources does not always fully match the problem statement or might be incomplete. In such cases, it is wise to combine existing source research with other research methods.

Look here for  an overview of different research methods