Secondary analysis of qualitative data

Janet Heaton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


There has been growing interest in the secondary analysis of qualitative data since the mid-1990s. However, the idea of reusing qualitative data has been met with a mixed reception by the social research community. This entry describes how the secondary analysis of qualitative data has been variously defined, promoted, practiced and debated in the UK, Europe, North America and Australia. It begins with an overview of the methodology and how it differs from documentary analysis and other qualitative approaches. This is followed by sections on how qualitative data have been reused in practice; different sources of data, types of qualitative secondary analysis, and examples of previous studies from the author's own work are described. In the remaining sections, the main epistemological, ethical and methodological issues discussed in the debates about the methodology are explained. The entry concludes with a summary of the key perspectives and identifies some of the opportunities and challenges ahead in this field.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSage Research Methods Foundations
EditorsPaul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W Sakshaug, Richard A Williams
PublisherSAGE Publications Ltd
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2019


  • secondary data analysis
  • qualitative data analysis
  • data archives


Dive into the research topics of 'Secondary analysis of qualitative data'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this