Knowledge creation and the use of secondary data

Juan Alvarez, Jesus Canduela*, Robert Raeside

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    Aims and objectives: To expose problems of using bespoke questionnaire-based surveys to create knowledge and to advance the use of secondary data as an alternative research approach. Background: Many researchers from students undertaking dissertations to those who attempt to create knowledge to advance society collect data by using questionnaires. But this raises reliability and validity concerns as a consequence of low response rates and non-response bias. This constrains knowledge creation. Design and method: First, the value of questionnaire-based research will be discussed. Then, it is argued that much can be accomplished using secondary data. The paper concludes by presenting a case study developed from the Scottish Health Survey. Results and conclusion: We demonstrate that there may be an alternative for creating bespoke questionnaires by researchers. The data to answer their research questions may already exist in official surveys whose data are available to students and researchers. By analysing a case study, we demonstrate the value of one of these secondary sources - the Scottish Health Survey. Relevance to clinical practice: We show that clinical practitioners in their training and in any professional research should consider alternative methods of collecting data for undertaking quantitative research. We advance the use of analysis of data collected by official surveys. Using secondary data can be more efficient in training students in research methods and make dissertations produced more meaningful.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2699-2710
    Number of pages12
    JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
    Issue number19-20
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


    • Case study research
    • Questionnaire
    • Survey designs

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • General Nursing


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