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The SAGE Encyclopedia of Social Science Research Methods

Michael S. Lewis-Beck & Alan Bryman & Tim Futing Liao

Pub. date: 2004 | DOI:

Print ISBN: 9780761923633 | Online ISBN: 9781412950589

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Encyclopedia Entry

Secondary Analysis of Quantitative Data

Angela Dale

Secondary analysis refers to the analysis of data originally collected by another researcher, often for a different purpose. This article focuses specifically on secondary analysis of quantitative data, primarily from surveys and censuses. Various definitions, as well as the range of data sources that may be candidates for secondary analysis, are discussed by Hyman (1972), Hakim (1982), and Dale, Arber, and Procter (1988). Secondary analysis of high-quality data sets can provide an extremely cost-effective means by which researchers, often with only limited funding, can reap the benefits of a large investment for very little additional cost. The time-consuming and expensive processes of planning and conducting a survey, and cleaning and documenting the data are avoided entirely. However, because the data have been collected by another researcher, the secondary analyst will have had no opportunity to influence the questions asked or the coding frames used, and this important factor must be ...

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