Primary research is new research, carried out to answer specific issues or questions. It can involve questionnaires, surveys or interviews with individuals or small groups. For Business 201, primary research can include, for example, calling a landlord to find rent costs, contacting farmers about food costs, etc.
Secondary research makes use of information previously researched for other purposes & publicly available. Market research reports, articles, demographics--any information NOT INITIALLY COLLECTED by you.
Read "The Difference Between Primary and Secondary Research" (The Balance: Small Business) for more information.