The advent of technology advancements in sensors, telecommunications, computers, scanners and mobile devices has sparked a reinvigorated interest in the use archival for researching business issues. Business executives and academia are motivated to the exploit the expanding mass of archival data to address complex financial, operational, communication and security (Guo, Straub, & Zhang, 2014) problems. This paper outlines the pros and cons of using archival data in the research of business issues from both an academic and practioner perspective.
Advantages of Archival Data in Researching Business Issues
The use of archival data, often referred as secondary or second-hand (Jarvenpaa, 1991) data, offers a variety of benefits across the research lifecycle. First, the use of existing archival data, such as business financial information, reduces the amount of resources required to collect the data. For example, the Center for Research in Security Price (CSRP) provides readily available daily, weekly and monthly stock market data for many public firms in a variety of output formats, which would be very tedious, costly and incredibly time consuming to retrieve individually. The time, money and effort saved in data collection could allow more focus on data analysis (Jarvenpaa, 1991).
A second key benefit of archival data is enhanced external validity. Secondary data often contains large sample sizes that are much closer to the population. With very large sample size