Qualitative Secondary Analysis in Austere Times: Ethical, Professional and Methodological Considerations

  • Carrie Coltart Cardiff University
  • Karen Henwood Cardiff University
  • Fiona Shirani Cardiff University
Keywords: ethical challenges, qualitative secondary analysis, epistemology, qualitative longitudinal research, team working


Recent debates in qualitative secondary analysis (QSA) have sought to move beyond polarising arguments in order to develop more nuanced perspectives on the epistemological, analytical and practical opportunities and challenges associated with its methods. This is generally to be welcomed, although there are also signs of unhelpful primary/secondary divisions finding new forms of expression. Focusing on definitional issues and wider contexts of QSA helps to explain the possible sources of ongoing tensions while affording tentative insights into potential opportunities and synergies across the primary/secondary spectrum. Building on work undertaken within the Timescapes Qualitative Longitudinal study, the article also highlights some under-examined costs and risks that may come along with new opportunities created by secondary analysis. Issues of over-privileging secondary analysis claims, making and the timing of qualitative secondary analysis are foregrounded as requiring further consideration if researchers are to take seriously lingering suspicions and fears about qualitative secondary analysis and not dismiss them as simply reactionary or self-serving.

URN: http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs1301181


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Author Biographies

Carrie Coltart, Cardiff University

Carrie COLTART worked as a Research Associate for the Timescapes "Men as Fathers" project based at Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences. Related to her work on the intersections of class and gender in narrative, Carrie also has research interests in intergenerational relationships, memory and interdisciplinary qualitative research methods.

Karen Henwood, Cardiff University
Professor, Cardiff School of Social Sciences
Fiona Shirani, Cardiff University

Fiona SHIRANI was a Research Associate for the Timescapes "Men as Fathers" project based at Cardiff University, School of Social Sciences. She now works on another qualitative longitudinal research project.

Single Contributions