Secondary Analysis in Exploring Family and Social Change: Addressing the Issue of Context

  • Val Gillies London South Bank University
  • Rosalind Edwards London South Bank University
Keywords: secondary analysis, context, qualitative research, social change, parenting, family


This paper explores the issue of context in conducting secondary analysis and draws out the particular epistemological, methodological, practical and ethical challenges associated with the re-use of historically specific, contextually bound archived datasets. Focusing on the topic of change and continuity in family life, it outlines our efforts to design a method of comparing contemporary data on parents with accounts collected in the 1960s. We discuss the contextual complexities and constraints we encountered in attempting to construct a viable approach to evaluating social change through comparative historical analysis, and we describe how we sought to address these issues. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0501444


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Author Biographies

Val Gillies, London South Bank University
Val GILLIES is a Senior Research Fellow in the Families & Social Capital ESRC Research Group at London South Bank University. Her research interests include qualitative research methods, family and social class.
Rosalind Edwards, London South Bank University
Rosalind EDWARDS is Professor in Social Policy and Director of the Families & Social Capital ESRC Research Group at London South Bank University. She has published widely on issues of family policy, family lives and social capital.