Secondary sources of data

  • Created by: 11pyoung
  • Created on: 21-04-18 13:36
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  • Secondary sources of data
    • Why sociologists use secondary sources
      • The information already exists
        • saves time
      • Includes data that is beyond the means of sociologists to collect because of the scale
      • Able to research past societies and how societies change
    • Problems and limitations of secondary sources
      • The person who first created the source did so for a reason
        • Creates bias
    • Types of secondary data
      • Government statistics and reports
        • Positivist views of official statisitcs
          • Emile Durkheim
            • Secondary data  are valid and reliable
        • Interpretivist views of official statistics
          • Official statistics are an interpretation produced by government agencies
            • Impossible to produce objective, reliable and valid statistics
        • Radical views of official statistics
          • Government statistics are systematically distorted by the powerful
      • Reports and government inquiries
        • The government and powerful bodies have the power to exclude discussion of issues that they do not want to become the centre of public attention
      • Qualitative secondary sources
        • Historical sources
          • Vital for studying long-term social changes
          • Only some have survived
            • No guarantee that these are representative
        • Life documents
          • Plummer
            • personal documents are rarely used by contemporary sociologists, because surviiving documents may not be representative
          • Highly subjective
        • Novels and autobiographies
          • Gives insight into the attitudes and behaviour of particular groups
      • Previous research
        • Previous studies as a starting point
          • Can see the ways in which the topic has been researched previously
            • Able to construct a study that  explores a different 'angle' f the problem
      • Official publications
      • Diaries and letters
      • Novels and works of fiction
      • Oral history and family histories
      • The media
        • The media and content analysis
          • The internet as a secondary source
            • Vast range of qualitative and quantitative data is available
            • Stuart Stein
              • Unlike with published sources, there is no editorial process designed to ensure the validity and reliability of the data
          • Content analysis is relatively cheap
    • Secondary sources in the context of education
      • The use of official statistics
        • Practical issues
          • Plentiful and easily accessible
          • Info wanted by sociologists are not always available
        • Ethical issues
          • No ethical issues with published statistics
        • Theoretical issues
          • Comprehensive
          • Generally reliable
      • Qualitative secondary sources in education
        • Practical issues
          • Cheap
          • Quick and easy to access
        • Ethical issues
          • No issues surrounding public document
        • Theoretical issues
          • Validity may be called into question

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