Conducting Secondary Research Essay

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WORKBOOK B:
CONDUCTING
SECONDARY RESEARCH

TABLE OF CONTENTS

OVERVIEW OF SECONDARY RESEARCH .......................................................................... 3
Steps Involved in Secondary Research........................................................................................ 3
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Research ............................................................. 4
Deciding Whether or Not to Outsource Secondary Research ..................................................... 5
OUTSOURCING SECONDARY RESEARCH: ........................................................................ 6
CONDUCTING SECONDARY RESEARCH USING INTERNAL RESOURCES:.............. 7
1. Identifying Sources of Information ........................................................................................ 7
2. Gathering Existing Data ....................................................................................................... 10
3. Normalizing Data ................................................................................................................. 12
4. Analyzing Data..................................................................................................................... 13
Demographic Analysis ..................................................................................................... 14

Workbook B

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Conducting Secondary Research

OVERVIEW OF SECONDARY RESEARCH
Sometimes secondary research is referred to as community assessment, needs assessment, or situation analysis, but we use the term to mean: (1) collecting hard data that already exists about a community or communities targeted for your study; and (2) taking an initial look at communities’ experiences with OST programs. There are two goals:
Narrowing the focus of your research.
Generating a list of questions you will need to answer in order to move forward with your OST planning.

What Communities Have Learned
Secondary research changes the discussion. “Centralized data collection and analysis eliminated arguments over what the facts were. Once risk factors were identified and all the data were geographically mapped in a clear and readable format, inequities and gaps in service delivery became obvious. Some neighborhoods had high concentrations of City-funded programs, while others actually had nothing. The data mapping helped convince everyone providers, funders, advocates and elected officials - that resources should be distributed more equitably and more programs should target the high-need communities.”
-- Ester Fuchs, Ph.D., Office of the Mayor, New York City. Conducted secondary research and utilization research of
OST programs operating in New York City. This research project was designed to inventory existing OST programs and enrollment measures in order to direct resources to underserved and high-need areas.

Steps Involved in Secondary Research
1. Identifying sources of information
(U.S. Census Dept., area schools, library, Internet, magazines, etc.)

2. Gathering existing data
(Can include public use data; published information; organizational databases.)

3. Normalizing data if needed
(Making data from different sources comparable if necessary and feasible.)

4. Analyzing data
(Demographic and utilization analyses provided as examples in this manual.)

Workbook B

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Conducting Secondary Research

POINTER
There are few steps involved in conducting secondary research, as the information already exists—your job is to find it and make sense of it.
Secondary research can be time-consuming, but it will yield accurate information about your community. You may be able to find data on actual OST program attendance, for example, as opposed to self-reported attendance, which you would get if you were to ask students about their attendance in a survey. This research method is especially effective at the onset of OST planning; for…