Ex Post Facto Research: Using Existing Data for your Dissertation Research


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By Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes


Are you tired of seeing good data that is not being put to good use? 

Do you want to avoid having to collect new data?

Are you looking for a quick and substantive path to dissertation completion?


If so, you should consider ex post facto research.

Ex post facto data is research data that has already been collected, but not necessarily amassed for specific research purposes. Ex post facto literally means from what is done afterwards. This can be viewed as an experimental research in reverse.

Instead of taking groups that are equivalent and subjecting them to different treatments to determine differences in the dependent variables (a classic approach in experimental or quasi-experimental research), an ex post facto approach begins with groups that are already different in some respect, and searches in retrospect for factors that brought about those differences. In this way, ex post facto research can transform a non-experimental research design into a pseudo-experimental study.

Want more details? See our recently updated recipe below on this underutilized and highly accessible approach to “harvesting” valuable data that has already been collected, and re-purposing it for a different study. Click the red link below to see more.


Ex Post Facto Research: Using Existing Data for Valuable Research