On the Potentials and Problems of Secondary Analysis. An Introduction to the FQS Special Issue on Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data

Louise Corti, Andreas Witzel, Libby Bishop


Archived qualitative data are a rich and unique yet often unexploited source of research material that can be reanalysed, reworked, and compared with contemporary data. This issue aims to debate the methodological, ethical and theoretical considerations relating to the secondary analysis of qualitative data and to provide exemplars of applications of the method. Many of the papers present actual case studies based on re-using qualitative data, while others build on the growing body of published evidence that provide arguments relating to the strengths and weaknesses of particular approaches to the secondary analysis of qualitative data. In the first section, the papers explore issues of context: how to best preserve context and challenges posed by decontextualised archived data. The second set of papers offers case studies of reuse in areas including class, medicine, history, and employment and consider reinterpretation of original findings, analytic strategies and ways of teaching secondary analysis data of qualitative data. In the final section the contributions cover more practical issues such as strategies for anonymisation and tools that address some of the deficiencies of current technological systems for handling qualitative data. Although new resources to support secondary analysis are starting to appear, the need for more still exists, in particular for high quality and transparent exemplars of re-analysis. We hope this issue of FQS goes some way toward filling this need. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0501495


secondary analysis; qualitative data; data archives; context; anonymisation; teaching and learning; social research methods

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Copyright (c) 2005 Louise Corti, Andreas Witzel, Libby Bishop

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