What is qualitative secondary analysis? How can it be most effectively applied in social research? This timely and accomplished book offers readers a well informed, reliable guide to all aspects of qualitative secondary analysis. The book: Defines secondary analysis. Distinguishes between quantitative and qualitative secondary analysis. Maps the main types of qualitative secondary analysis. Covers the key ethical and legal issues. Offers a practical guide to effective research. Sets the agenda for future developments in the subject. Written by an experienced researcher and teacher with a background in sociology, the book is a comprehensive and invaluable introduction to this growing field of social research.

Observation

Observation in a strict sense of simply watching people is little used in social research (except as an unobtrusive method) both because human behaviour is too complex to record in this way, and because it isolates researchers from what is being studied, so preventing participation or deeper exploration of understandings through conversation or interview.

Section Outline: Observation and participant observation. Actions’ meanings are not self-explanatory. Observation as a starting point. ‘Active’ observation: focused, systematic and recorded. Casing the joint. Unobtrusive observation: the difficulty of recording observations. Unstructured observation. Lack of control over events. Observation in the classroom. Selective perception. Structured observation: information overload. Sampling in observation.

People coming new to social research are often surprised to learn that social scientists, and sociologists in particular, do not use ...

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