"A unique opportunity to study the raw materials of the recent or more distant past"
Secondary analysis of qualitative data is rapidly becoming a standard skill for research methods. This is demonstrated by the growing frequency of highly ranked journals publishing articles using the approach and in the support demonstrated by funders in promoting a dedicated initiative for secondary analysis.
However, in qualitative research methods training the approach is not taught routinely. For example, in sociology, economics and history, the emphasis is still placed on primary data analysis skills rather than on techniques of reusing data, or of integrating primary and secondary data.
We have piloted, designed and successfully run courses on how to do secondary analysis aimed at researchers and also aimed at teachers who want to incorporate ideas in to their classes.
Using our data resources in teaching in the social sciences adds interest and relevance to methodological courses, and can free up precious time in the methods curriculum to focus on the vital skills that sit either side of the data collection process: formulating research questions and analysing data.