Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

Pitfalls and Promises: The Use of Secondary Data Analysis in Educational Research

Emma Smith
British Journal of Educational Studies
Vol. 56, No. 3 (Sep., 2008), pp. 323-339
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20479605
Page Count: 17
  • Download ($44.00)
  • Cite this Item
Pitfalls and Promises: The Use of Secondary Data Analysis in Educational Research
Preview not available

Abstract

This paper considers the use of secondary data analysis in educational research. It addresses some of the promises and potential pitfalls that influence its use and explores a possible role for the secondary analysis of numeric data in the 'new' political arithmetic tradition of social research. Secondary data analysis is a relatively under-used technique in Education and in the social sciences more widely, and it is an approach that is not without its critics. Here we consider two main objections to the use of secondary data: that it is full of errors and that because of the socially constructed nature of social data, simply reducing it to a numeric form cannot fully encapsulate its complexity. However, secondary data also offers numerous methodological, theoretical and pedagogical benefits. Indeed by treating secondary data analysis with appropriate scepticism and respect for its limitations, by demanding that tacit assumptions about the unreliability of secondary data are applied equally to other research methods, and crucially by combining secondary data analysis with small-scale in-depth work, this paper argues for a return to prominence of secondary data analysis in its own right as well as becoming a central component of the new political arithmetic tradition of social research.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
323
    323
  • Thumbnail: Page 
324
    324
  • Thumbnail: Page 
325
    325
  • Thumbnail: Page 
326
    326
  • Thumbnail: Page 
327
    327
  • Thumbnail: Page 
328
    328
  • Thumbnail: Page 
329
    329
  • Thumbnail: Page 
330
    330
  • Thumbnail: Page 
331
    331
  • Thumbnail: Page 
332
    332
  • Thumbnail: Page 
333
    333
  • Thumbnail: Page 
334
    334
  • Thumbnail: Page 
335
    335
  • Thumbnail: Page 
336
    336
  • Thumbnail: Page 
337
    337
  • Thumbnail: Page 
338
    338
  • Thumbnail: Page 
339
    339