Primary and Secondary Data

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Primary data are those that you have collected yourself, whereas secondary data originate elsewhere. Generally, you will find that you are expected to collect primary data when using quantitative methods, but that secondary data are more acceptable when you are using a qualitative method. This is because there are certain common aspects of qualitative research which involve only secondary data, such as the study of television or newspaper discourses. If you wanted to understand the nature of the representation of Romany people on television, you wouldn’t make your own television programmes! You would use those which exist, and they would form [your] secondary data (Forshaw, 2000).  

A secondary data research project involves the gathering and/or use of existing data for purposes other than those for which they were originally collected. These secondary data may be obtained from many sources, including literature, industry surveys, compilations from computerized databases and information systems, and computerized or mathematical models of environmental processes.  

Secondary Data
* What Is Secondary Data?
* Data may be described as Primary or Secondary
* Primary data - collected by the researcher himself * Secondary data - collected by others to be "re-used" by the researcher * What Form Does Secondary Data Take?
* Quantitative Sources
* Published Statistics:
* National Government Sources
* Demographic (Census, Vital Statistics, Cancer Registrations) * Administrative (by-product of Government)
* Collected by Govt. Depts. overseen by ONS (eg. employment, prices, trade, finance) * Government Surveys (input to Government)
* General Household Survey (GHS)
* Family Expenditure Survey (FES)
* Labour Force Survey (LFS)
* Family Resources Survey (FRS)
* Omnibus Survey
* Local Government Sources
* Planning Documents
* Trends Documents (eg former Strathclyde Social Trends and Economic Trends) * Other Sources
* Firms & Trade Associations eg Society of Motot Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) * Market & Opinion Research eg Gallup, NOP, SCPR System 3 * Trade Unions, TUC, STUC

* Professional Bodies eg CIPFA (Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy) provides a Statistical Information Service re Local Government Statistics * Political Parties

* Voluntary & Charitable Bodies eg Low Pay Unit, SCF (Save the Children Fund), Rowntree Foundation * Academic & Research Institutes eg
* Micro-Social Change Research Centre (MSRC) at Essex Uni * National Institute for Economic & Social Research (NIESR) * Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

* International Sources
* EU, OECD, World Bank, IMF
* Non-Published / Electronic Sources
* Data Archives eg the Data Archive At Essex
* Data Sub-Setting Service On Tape, Disk, Postal Or Via Janet * On-Line Access To National Computing Centres
* MIMAS (Manchester Information & Associated Services) * EDINA (Edinburgh)
* International Sources on Internet & Web
* Qualitative Sources
/ Sources for Qualitative Research:
* Biographies - subjective interpretation involved
* Diaries - more spontaneous, less distorted by memory lapses * Memoirs - benefit/problem of hindsight
* Letters - reveal interactions
* Newspapers - public interest & opinion
* Novels & Literature In General - eg Atkinson's tribute to usefulness of Gordon's "Dr Novels";...
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