Secondary Data Analysis
Secondary data analysis is the use of data that was collected by individuals other than the investigator. This includes newspapers, census data, maps, etc. Secondary data analysis is often a starting point for other social science research methods.
Oftentimes, information and data managers need in order to make an informed decision have already been collected. A manager may want to find out particular aspects of the changing human environment in order to identify and manage areas of concern. Secondary data analysis including census reports, government reports, scientific papers, aerial maps, business and industry reports, on-line Web sites, and other secondary data can assist in developing conclusions that will help in decision making.
Captures comprehensive and historical information
Uses existing information
Web-based materials and search engines are readily available
Information may be incomplete, obsolete, inconclusive, or inaccurate
Data limited to what already exists
This technique can usually be conducted with in-house expertise. Some assistance may be needed in locating data sources and analyzing complex data sets.
Sources and Uses of Secondary Data
This reference site from Glasgow Caledonian University highlights some types of sources and uses for secondary data research.