Secondary documents


Types of secondary documents

  • Letters
  • Newspapers
  • Postcards
  • Diaries
  • Audio
  • Video
  • Pictures
  • Documentary

Approaches to secondary data

  • Extraction: taking statistics or research examples from the orginal texts.
  • Content analysis: sources are examined in great detail to see what themes run through them.
  • Semiotics: study of signs.
  • Hermeneutics: seeks to analyse the secondary sources from the view of the person/organisation that originally sourced the data. Looks at political, social and economic context.


  • Literature search: work doesn't have to be repeated.
  • There isn't always someone to provide a life or oral history.
  • Sometimes it's impossibe for the researcher to visit or talk to the group directly, or studying the group directly would be too obtrusive.
  • Sometimes…


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