Exploring Sociological Research into Social Inequality and Difference; Advantages and Disadvantages of using Secondary Sources

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Advantages of using Secondary Sources

All sociological research begins with a literature search or review of all relevant previous sociological research on the particular topic under investigation.

If the information required already exists, even if in a different form, the researcher does not have to repeat the original research. Alternatively, the researcher may use the original data to re-examine previously published data or studies in order to interpret them in a new theoretical light.

Sociologists often want to look back in history for information, but there is no one able to provide a life or oral history. In these cases, the sociologist must use secondary sources, such as official documents and letters.

Sometimes, it is possible for the researcher actually to visit or talk to the group directly. This could be for financial reasons or because the group may be geographically too distant or scattered. More commonly, the sociologist thinks that studying the group directly would be to obtrusive.

Sociologists studying crime and deviance are often faced with situations wher direct studies of the group


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