The Lone Mother Resilience Project: A Qualitative Secondary Analysis


  • Elizabeth C. Watters Wilfrid Laurier University
  • Sara Cumming Sheridan College
  • Lea Caragata Wilfrid Laurier University



qualitative secondary analysis, secondary research, supra-assorted analysis, auto-data, qualitative research


Although qualitative secondary analyses are conducted across the social sciences, supra-assorted analyses that involve both the re-use of existing data and the collection of new, primary data are relatively uncommon. Additionally, discussions regarding qualitative secondary analysis have tended to ignore the re-use of researchers' own data (i.e., auto-data). Thus, with this article, we aim to contribute to this discussion by providing an example of a supra-assorted analysis in which we re-used data from one of our previous studies, Lone Mothers: Building Social Inclusion. This earlier, longitudinal study was conducted with 104 poor lone mothers across Canada. We supplemented this dataset with data from three focus groups and 20 semi-structured interviews engaging a total of 38 lone mothers. Both studies were informed by a feminist and social inclusion lens, and recruited a diverse sample of women in three cities across the country: Vancouver, British Columbia; Toronto, Ontario; and St. John's, Newfoundland. In addition, most of the lone mothers who participated in the secondary analysis had also been involved in the original study as interviewees and/or research assistants. We conclude the article by discussing the strengths and limitations of, and lessons learned from, the secondary study's design.


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Author Biographies

Elizabeth C. Watters, Wilfrid Laurier University

Elizabeth C. WATTERS is a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario. Her doctoral research explores the impact of precarious employment on the health of racialized immigrant women in Southwestern Ontario. She obtained her master of social work degree at Wilfrid Laurier University, and her bachelor of science degree at York University in Toronto, Ontario. She has a decade of professional experience in the public and non-profit sectors, and has worked in the areas of health promotion, vocational rehabilitation, diversity services, research, and university teaching. As a doctoral student, she has provided research assistance to several projects, including knowledge mobilization support to The Lone Mother Resilience Project.

Sara Cumming, Sheridan College

Sara J. CUMMING is a professor of sociology in the Faculty of Humanities & Social Sciences at Sheridan College, Ontario. Throughout her career, Sara has held multiple research grants in partnership with regional government and not-for-profits assessing the quality of services offered to marginalized populations. Her most recent grant is a collaboration with Dr. Michael McNAMARA which relies on qualitative research and creative problem solving to help community partners produce new, creative, and fundable projects aimed at ameliorating hardships for vulnerable populations in Halton Region, Ontario. Sara teaches and publishes in the areas of introductory sociology, participatory action research, gender, social inequality, xenophobism and social policy. Prior to joining Sheridan in 2013, Sara was a term professor at Brock University, Ontario and the University of Waterloo, Ontario, as well as a contract writer for a Canadian publishing company. Sara is the co-chair of Applied Sociology in Canada, a research cluster under the Canadian Sociological Association. She received her PhD in sociology from the University of Waterloo.

Lea Caragata, Wilfrid Laurier University

Lea CARAGATA is a professor of social policy at the Faculty of Social Work at Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario. She completed her PhD at the University of Toronto, Ontario, focused on the interplay between land use, social movements and the democratization of public space. Her return to academe to do a PhD followed an almost 20 year career that included grassroots community organizing, social housing development, public policy coordination, and public administration in non-profit community organizations and in government. She continues to blend academic and research interests with her interest and commitment to public policy change and community development. Her recent book "Not the Whole Story: Challenging the Single Mother Narrative" is an illustration of her participatory, activist work.




How to Cite

Watters, E. C., Cumming, S., & Caragata, L. (2018). The Lone Mother Resilience Project: A Qualitative Secondary Analysis. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 19(2).



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