A brief description of how to identify secondary data sets.
The difference between primary and secondary data depends on whether the research team collects a data set or simply analyzes it (Cambridge, 2013). If the data set is collected by a group of researchers and this team analyzed it on their own, it is considered primary data. If the data is retrieved by a second team who didn’t conduct the primary research and it is used for a different purpose, it is considered secondary data (Cambridge, 2013). Most secondary data is collected through surveys or censuses, which includes the U.S. Census Bureau, administrative records such as the Medicare system’s medical claims records, video recordings, and transcripts of medical electronic information such as the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research, National Center for Education Statistics, and the National Health Interview Survey.

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Provide two strengths and two limitations to using secondary data sets
Economical values, breadth of data availability, and knowledgeable data collectors are three advantages of secondary data analysis. Secondary data analysis is economical because the data were collected by someone else the researchers do not have to devote their own time and resources in conducting the original research (Boslaugh, 2007). The second major advantage of using secondary data is the availability of the data from different national and state levels that provide data that aids many different researchers’ interests. The third advantage of using secondary data is that the initial data was collected by an individual with advanced expertise and professionalism that may not available in smaller research groups. Despite these three advantages, the main disadvantage of using secondary data is inherent in its nature; since the data were not collected to answer specific research questions, it may not be a perfect fit to answer the secondary research question. Another disadvantage of using secondary data is that the analyst did not participate in the planning and execution of the data collection process, so he or she doesn’t truly know how it was done and it will be difficult to apply this information when answering the new question (MSG, 2013).

Given the strengths and limitations, provide examples of when the use of secondary data is appropriate and inappropriate. Support your response with the Learning Resources and current literature.
When using secondary data, which is “any data that are examined to answer a research question other than the question(s) for which the data were initially collected” (Vartanian, 2010 p. 3), it is important to understand the strengths and limitations of its evaluation. This evaluation includes availability, relevance, and its ability to meet the requirements of the research question; for example, units of measurements and concepts used must be used in the same manner (Management Study Guide (MSG, 2013). Accuracy of the data must be checked in the specification and methodology, margin error, and dependability of the source. Lastly, the sufficiency of the data that are available (MSG, 2013 ) should be determined. There are many situations where the use of secondary data is helpful. For example, data from early childhood and longitudinal studies can be used to examine the influence of setting parental involvement in preschool. In general, when one wishes to implement secondary data usage, it is important to evaluate it, determine whether it is applicable to the research objective, and determine the cost of acquisition and accuracy of the data.

  • Boslaugh, S. (2007). Secondary data sources for public health: A practical guide. New York, NY: Cambridge.
  • Management Study Guide (2013). Secondary data: advantage and disadvantage. Retrieved June 5, 2013 from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/secondary_data.htm