Historical Social Research

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33.3 - Qualitative Data

HSR Vol. 33 (2008) No. 3: Focus: Qualitative Data

Andreas Witzel, Irena Medjedovic & Susanne Kretzer (Hrsg.): Secondary Analysis of Qualitative Data

Since the mid-1990s, there has been growing recognition of and interest in the potential for carrying out secondary analysis of qualitative data. Nevertheless the secondary analysis of qualitative data is still nearly unknown within the scientific community.

Applying new perspectives to ‘old’ data offers the potential for generating new insights and theories, answering still open and specific questions as well as evaluating research results. Combining and comparing different data sets promotes a cumulative research process and the generalisability of research results. These advantages of secondary analysis can be facilitated by manifold existing tools. However, there are a number of epistemological, methodological, ethical and confidentiality issues which have to be considered.

This HSR-FOCUS discusses the opportunities presented by such a research strategy, and gives an introduction to the debate. It addresses the organisational issues connected with the provision of services and establishing a data sharing culture. The 10 contributions refer to the concept of secondary analysis, to its application by means of concrete examples, as well as to the special issues and solutions surrounding this research strategy from the perspective of consulted experts.

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