It is not always necessary to collect all the data yourself. You may also use existing sources. Think of databases like SCP or CBS, from which you can buy data, but also from your own administration or cash register system. Use existing databases if you want to know more about a particular subject on which national data is collected or if you require quantitative data about your own organization. A lot of data is readily available. Just make clever use of this.


  1. Formulate a clear purpose and research question and sub-questions that you seek answers to with existing research sources.
  2. Provide keywords and search terms derived from your purpose and research question. This will give you a clear direction to look for relevant sources.
  3. Collect current information.
  4. Make sure the sources are relevant to your problem statement.
  5. Keep track of which information you get from where, so you and your client can see which sources were used.
  6. 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.
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Claudia's heart is in research. With her passion, she enjoys enthusing others about research. She enjoys sharing her knowledge and experience. Claudia works and lives in the Netherlands, where she has been helping students and beginning researchers with research for years. Through blogs, but also with e-books, e-courses, and coaching. The first blogs are now translated into English to help more students and beginning researchers.
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