Using Secondary Data Research is conducted by analyzing data that is collected from a few people who are chosen in ways such that they are representative of the population at large. The data collected is analyzed in ways that help to draw conclusions about the entire population from which the sample is taken without actually testing the entire population (Christensen, Johnson amp. Turner, 2010). Often the data collected is taken directly from the sample. but in some cases, the data is gathered from other sources like medical records, census data, and such other sources. Although this comprises the integrity of the data to some extent since it is not gathered directly from the source (Christensen, Johnson amp. Turner, 2010). some studies require data that cannot be gathered directly or it can be unethical to expose participants directly to research conditions (Frankfort-Nachmias amp. Nachmias, 2008). Data that is gathered in such indirect ways is called secondary data. and when used appropriately, it can provide valuable information about the population (Frankfort-Nachmias amp. Nachmias, 2008).An example of a study using Secondary Data would be one that attempted to evaluate the changes in the manner and extent to which depression was reported over a decade at a campus clinic that caters to the students of a university. A study like this would want to study the number of cases reported. the symptoms described. and the treatment suggested and chosen as well as the number of cases that reported recovery and the time taken to achieve this recovery. The data required for this study is historical data that is available from the case files available at the clinic. The participants in this study would be the persons who were diagnosed with Depression. and it would be unethical to remind them of their illness – particularly since it can raise painful memories especially for participants who had to struggle with the illness for a long time (Frankfort-Nachmias amp. Nachmias, 2008). Also, participants who were diagnosed many years back may not remember the symptoms well. or the details of the treatment they took, and may not be able to provide details. These details can be taken from the case files. and will provide a more accurate representation. although using the case files limits the scope of the research to the details available (Christensen, Johnson amp. Turner, 2010). If the participant provided inaccurate information, this cannot be evaluated. nor can it provide information about people who did not approach the clinic but were depressed nevertheless. There is also an ethical issue, since it may not be possible to get permission from all the participants whose data is included in the study (Frankfort-Nachmias amp. Nachmias, 2008). Regardless of these issues, it would be more appropriate to use secondary data for a study such as the one described. ReferencesChristensen, L. B., Johnson, R. B. amp. Turner, L. A. (2010). Research Methods, Design, and Analysis (11th ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Frankfort-Nachmias, C amp. Nachmias, D. (2008). Research methods in the social sciences (7th ed.). New York: Worth Publishers.
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