Secondary Quantitative Data

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Research is an important tool of the social sciences. Social scientists make use of both primary and secondary research data, and both quantitative and qualitative, but often it is difficult to carry out independent data collection. Thus, secondary quantitative data has its uses and limitations.


So we are concerned with research carried out by making effective use of existing quantitative data. That is, whereas in primary research both data collection and analysis is used, in secondary research, "creative analytic techniques [are applied] to data that have been amassed by others" (Kiecolt, 1985). Another important distinction to note given that this study examines the strengths and weaknesses of using secondary quantitative data is that secondary data is that which has been collected for another purpose but later reanalyzed for use in another piece of research. This of course brings to question the validity of doing this, the rationale for conducting secondary research, its advantages and limitations.
Examples of the types of secondary quantitative data are the following: Official records relating to births, marriages and deaths; records relating to crime, divorce, voting patterns etc.; the census; records held by academic, business and other organizations. The census is a special type of secondary dataset due to it being obligatory. Other regular or ad hoc surveys also provide useful statistical information. Some sources for using secondary data include surveys conducted by organizations, economic data, university academia research, national and international statistics, and opinion polls. ...
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