Implicit Data

Implicit Data & Explicit Data – Importance & Difference

Researchers often come across implicit and explicit data while doing research. Implicit data refers to the secondary data available online which is not directly acquired by the researcher. Instead, the researcher acquires implicit data through secondary methods. On the other hand, explicit data refers to the type of data that the researcher directly acquires. The researcher obtains the explicit data through primary data collection methods such as questionnaires, surveys, polls, interviews, and focus group discussions. This article will differentiate between implicit and explicit data while highlighting their importance and differences.

What is Implicit Data?

Implicit data refers to the type of data that the researcher does not directly acquire. Instead, the researcher collects implicit data indirectly through various channels. The data is already published and readily available over the Internet and in scholarly databases. Implicit data is available in various formats, such as electronic books, reports, research articles, magazine articles, statistical figures published by government and non-governmental organisations, and data published by corporate organisations.

Researchers can easily access implicit data by accessing the Internet. Also, the implicit data is also available in archival repositories, which are usually owned and administered by the governments. The data, however, is not directly acquired by the researcher since another researcher gathered and compiled the data for various purposes. Researchers often use this kind of data when they do not have enough time and resources to acquire explicit data through primary data collection methods.

What is Explicit Data?

Explicit data refers to the data acquired directly by the research through primary data collection methods. Researchers gather explicit data using surveys, questionnaires, opinion polls, interviews and focus group discussions. Explicit data allows the researcher to gather first-hand accounts of any phenomenon or human experience and provides deep insights into the event or experiences. For example, companies seeking to gain competitive advantage require explicit data for creating strategies. They cannot rely on implicit data since the goals of the original researcher might diverge from the company’s current concerns and end goals. So, companies mobilise their research wing to gather explicit data employing various data collection strategies.

Companies utilise this approach to tailor their policies to population segments and cater to their needs. It helps businesses gain a competitive advantage and adopt optimal strategies that minimise risk and enhance profitability. Similarly, researchers seeking to generate unique insights about a topic or subject matter utilise explicit data for research and analysis. For example, a researcher seeking to understand the behavioral patterns of a particular culture, which has been often neglected in the past, can bring a fresh perspective on the issue by acquiring first-hand accounts of the events and people’s experiences.

What Is The Importance Of Implicit And Explicit Data In Research?

Implicit and explicit data in research are important mediums for collecting evidence for research and analysis. The choice of using both methods depend upon the research design and the aims and objectives of the research. The researcher can also use both implicit data and explicit data to enrich the contents of the research and thus adding credibility to the research. It is important to note here that implicit data is a valuable source of data collection because, often, the resources for research are limited and scarce.

Researchers have to minimise the costs as much as possible and save time to complete the research undertaken on time. Therefore, they use implicit data, readily available via various data streams and easily accessible to the researchers. Also, acquiring explicit data on some research topics and issues is difficult since information on certain issues is sensitive and classified. Therefore, researchers cannot easily access the data; therefore, implicit information is all researchers have to formulate an opinion about something.

On the other hand, the importance of explicit data cannot be emphasized enough since the data provides first-hand accounts of events and experiences. It helps researchers collect primary data and align it with their research goals and objectives. By collecting explicit data, researchers can generate deep insights into a subject matter or experience.

What Are The Differences Between Implicit And Explicit Data?

Implicit and explicit data differ greatly in their nature, composition, and end goals. Implicit data serves the end goals of secondary research, whereas explicit data is suitable for primary research. Implicit data comprises the already published data compiled by another research or an entity for various purposes. However, the data is readily accessible over the Internet, and researchers can access it to see if they can use it for their research.

On the other hand, explicit data comprises the first-hand accounts gathered, compiled, and sorted by the researcher to address the research questions. Researchers often use surveys, questionnaires, opinion polls, direct and indirect observations, interviews, and focus group discussions to gather explicit data. Data collection is an integral part of the research process, and many researchers often get intimated by the task; therefore, if you experience any difficulty acquiring data, you can always take dissertation help UK from experts.

What Are The Sources Of Implicit And Explicit Data?

Implicit data can be acquired from the following sources:

Research Databases

Research databases such as Google Scholar and Semantic Scholar are the most useful sources for gathering implicit data. Researchers can enter the important keywords in the search engine and search for the relevant data they need for their research.

Scholarly Journals

Scholarly journals are another crucial data for acquiring implicit data, and researchers can access the data from reputable online journals. The data can be used for literature review analysis and to seek indications about the possible research methods that can be utilised in the research.

Government Websites

Government websites are the most credible source of implicit data. The government entities publish and disseminate data on various issues such as policymaking, health, sanitation, electoral process, budget, and education.

Explicit Data Sources

Explicit data can be acquired using the following sources:


Surveys are the most common instruments for gathering explicit data. Researchers can gather explicit data through surveys. Surveys comprise open-ended and close-ended, specific, straightforward questions concerning the topic under investigation. Researchers can create surveys through Survey Monkey and Google Forms and circulate them via email and social media. Designing a questionnaire is a difficult task, and researchers have to take into account various factors such as biasness and reliability of the responses. Therefore, if you need the help of experts designing sound and reliable surveys, you can always take help from the best dissertation writers UK.


An interview is the highly preferable form of data collection method for acquiring explicit data for secondary research in qualitative studies. Researchers often employ structured, semi-structured, and unstructured questioning techniques to gather data from the study participants.


Implicit and explicit are the fundamental data collection methods employed in secondary and primary research. Researchers can use these data collection methods to gather data for quantitative and qualitative studies.

By Master James

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