Monthly Archives: March 2013

Using Secondary Data in Doctoral Research


By Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes

Psst…want a really good deal on a dissertation?  Low miles!

No, this is not a come on for one of those dissertation mills.  Rather, it is an invitation to consider an approach that relatively few doctoral learners consider – secondary data.

Secondary data is data originally developed or gathered for another purpose may indeed have low miles, and it certainly can be a way to accelerate and accomplish your research far more quickly and easily than collecting primary data.

When considering research topics and research designs, most doctoral students decide to collect primary data.  Primary data are data that are proactively gathered for a specific research purpose. There are, however, challenges involved with gathering primary data..  Not only must a population and sample be identified clearly, but as researchers we must convince our target population to respond.

There is another approach, and it can be quite effective even though among doctoral students it is rarely used.  Few students take advantage of secondary sources of data, even when they are readily available.

To read more about how you can use low mileage secondary data to accelerate your dissertation, read our updated guide here:

Using Secondary Data