Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data

2317 WordsJun 17, 201810 Pages
This essay aims to examine the practice of secondary analysis on qualitative data in terms of barriers to overcome and advantages of its practice. Over the last decades, archives of qualitative data have become widely accessible to research-es and there has been a smaller revolution in the practice of secondary analysis on such data. (Seale, 2004) There are both practical and methodological ad-vantages for researchers to use data that has been collected by others in order to pursue new research. However, this approach is not unproblematic. One of the most prominent features of qualitative research is its emphasis on contextual understanding and data- generating process between the researcher and partici-pants, which is to some extent lost…show more content…
For example, a qualitative re-searcher may implement grounded theory method, which implies that the pur-pose and question evolves throughout the project. Such practice is very sensitive to contextual influences and the specific methods and perspectives employed by the researcher. (Vromen, 2010) Consequently, the emphasis on the role of the researcher and the context within qualitative research creates a barrier to practising secondary analysis. Entering a data set as a secondary researcher has three broad implications in terms of con-text. First, the dynamic environment of researching participants through rela-tionships and reflexivity is lost. The data is now static in the sense that it is al-ready shaped and collected by the primary research and you cannot engage with the participants anymore. Second, which follows from the first, is that all the choices of methods of collection has already been done and cannot be undone. Decisions around units, cases and sampling for the primary research cannot be changed. Third, it is impossible for the primary researcher to grasp all contexts and influences in which the research is pursued and then translate them into the data. There will be information that is left out in the primary data due to both selectivity and inability, which becomes a problem of not knowing
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