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What are the principal barriers to secondary analysis of qualitative data Why should researchers pursue this approach - Essay Example

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Secondary analysis of data is the investigation by researchers who may not have been involved in the primary data collection. The purpose of such an analysis is also different from the purpose of those who were involved in the original data collection…
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What are the principal barriers to secondary analysis of qualitative data Why should researchers pursue this approach
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Download file to see previous pages This type of analysis can either be qualitative or quantitative, and aims at dealing with new study questions by investigating previously collected data. This discussion is focused on secondary analysis of qualitative data. There is no difference in definition to secondary analysis of data, except for the difference between qualitative and quantitative data involved. In the case of secondary analysis of qualitative data, the existing data use is qualitative rather than quantitative. Qualitative data is all about behaviour and attitudes which cannot be quantified. Quantitative data however, focuses on numerical data. Analysis involves large sets of data that are used to make predictions or generalizations3. Secondary analysis brings in a new body of knowledge. Mostly, secondary analyses have been carried out in cases where authors want to: Perform additional analysis to a subset of the original dataset, Perform additional analysis to the original dataset, Pursue distinct interests from the original analysis, Provide case material for teaching and methodological development, Apply a new conceptual focus or new perspective to the original research issues, and Describe the historical and contemporary attributes, and behaviour of groups, individuals, organizations or societies. Secondary analysis is also important in situations where the participants are difficult to access, especially in sensitive topics4. Secondary analysis for qualitative data focuses on qualitative research. An example could be, a research focusing on the attitudes of footballers towards the media. An analysis of these attitudes can be done on a primary level. A secondary analysis may have a different target, for example, it would say, the attitudes reveal the footballers’ real emotions, and use the primary data from the original research to prove the point. These secondary analyses to qualitative data have barriers and benefits. These are as discussed below. Barriers to Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data There is lack of familiarity with the data. When collecting primary data, the aim of the research guides the arrangement of such data, so that familiarity, with its structure and various features is not an issue. When conducting a secondary analysis however, a researcher has to take time finding out why certain qualitative data is coded as they are in the primary dataset. This means that the researcher will need a lot of time to decode the primary dataset, and in some cases, to understand the complexity of the dataset’s organization. If the qualitative dataset is found to be complex, it may discourage a secondary analysis. Complexity of a dataset and time taken to familiarize with specific variables in a qualitative dataset, are some of the barriers to such analyses5. Another barrier is the primary researchers’ legal and ethical obligation to keep such data confidential. Qualitative data may be characterised by the content of sensitive or private information. This is especially true about data obtained from interviews in which the interviewees entrust the primary researcher with sensitive or private information about them or their lives. The primary researcher has the obligation to protect the information, and maintain confidentiality as agreed upon before data collection. The main problem in secondary analysis is approaching such kind of researchers to analyse their data a second time. It could be an example of an ethical dilemma. The original researcher may want to share his or her data, but the confidential information that will be accessed by the secondary analysts may lead to a breach of contract between the primary resea ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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