Steps in Secondary Data Analysis

Stepping Your Way through Effective Secondary Data Analysis

  1. Determine your research question – As indicated above, knowing exactly what you are looking for

  2. Locating data– Knowing what is out there and whether you can gain access to it. A quick Internet search, possibly with the help of a librarian, will reveal a wealth of options.

  3. Evaluating relevance of the data – Considering things like the data’s original purpose, when it was collected, population, sampling strategy/sample, data collection protocols, operationalization of concepts, questions asked, and form/shape of the data.

  4. Assessing credibility of the data – Establishing the credentials of the original researchers, searching for full explication of methods including any problems encountered, determining how consistent the data is with data from other sources, and discovering whether the data has been used in any credible published research.

  5. Analysis – This will generally involve a range of statistical processes as discussed in Chapter 13.