Primary data is data that you yourself have collected first hand for your research examples include conducting a survey, interviewing managers. Secondary data is data that someone else collected e.g. facts and figures from the annual report, articles in the business press. Primary data takes time to collect and designing a survey and conducting reliable and focused interviews are also specialist skills which most students do not yet possess. Students tend not to be good at conducting reliable surveys, and if their survey questionnaire is poor then the subsequent analysis is likely to be poor – hence the higher failure rates for topics that are mostly based on primary data. The pass rate for topics using secondary data has always been higher – possibly because there is usually more secondary data available and it is more reliable so the analysis and evaluation are better.