I'm writing up my final draft of my MA dissertation in disability studies. It is a library-based dissertation, however I have also used the internet to access journals, blogs etc.
In my feedback, my tutor wrote this:
You have however done so without drawing on the specific research methods literature. Also, you have not yet explained how the secondary data analysis will be done: What exactly will you be analysing and in what ways? The fact that this is a library-based study does not change the fact that you need to demonstrate to the reader that the findings presented in this dissertation are based on a rigorous data gathering approach. Make sure to add a decent section on this (at least two pages), which must also include your sampling strategy and approach to analysis.
I have no idea what to write for this, and how to make it 2 pages long (my methodology is already 4 pages). I don't know what sampling I would have used for looking in the library. All I did was look up relevant books on the internet and picked them from the library. Also, I'm not sure on analysing these sources either. Any suggestions?
It sounds like the literature review should be systematic. so you do a full search in relevant search engines (sociology ones - and Google scholar for example) then list what came out of that search, put it all in a table. under methods, you would include your search terms. "e.g., disability, schools, England' or something. you need to show that you have done a comprehensive search and have missed nothing relevant. and if you did exclude studies, you state why (i.e., they were not relevant for x,y,z reason). It sounds like you need to grab a few textbooks. that cover secondary analysis, systematic reviews, etc. I don't think 'library based' would be the correct terminology. narrative review or systematic review would be better.
a sampling strategy is just your criteria:
e.g., studies that examine disability in e.g., schools/primarty age/in the UK/ published in English, etc.
have a look at how to do a systematic review. also get a book on writing up your master dissertation. again there are loads of these and they are invaulable in terms of layout. you can get them relevant to social sciences, and often they are written by sociologists. in terms of sampling type it sounds like it is secondary data analysis.
Internal sources of data are those that are internal to the organisation in question. For instance, if you are doing a research project for an organisation (or research institution) where you are an intern, and you want to reuse some of their past data, you would be using internal data sources.
The benefit of using these sources is that they are easily accessible and there is no associated financial cost of obtaining them.
External sources of data, on the other hand, are those that are external to an organisation or a research institution. This type of data has been collected by “somebody else”, in the literal sense of the term. The benefit of external sources of data is that they provide comprehensive data – however, you may sometimes need more effort (or money) to obtain it.
Let’s now focus on different types of internal and external secondary data sources.
There are several types of internal sources. For instance, if your research focuses on an organisation’s profitability, you might use their sales data. Each organisation keeps a track of its sales records, and thus your data may provide information on sales by geographical area, types of customer, product prices, types of product packaging, time of the year, and the like.
Alternatively, you may use an organisation’s financial data. The purpose of using this data could be to conduct a cost-benefit analysis and understand the economic opportunities or outcomes of hiring more people, buying more vehicles, investing in new products, and so on.
Another type of internal data is transport data. Here, you may focus on outlining the safest and most effective transportation routes or vehicles used by an organisation.
Alternatively, you may rely on marketing data, where your goal would be to assess the benefits and outcomes of different marketing operations and strategies.
Some other ideas would be to use customer data to ascertain the ideal type of customer, or to use safety data to explore the degree to which employees comply with an organisation’s safety regulations.
The list of the types of internal sources of secondary data can be extensive; the most important thing to remember is that this data comes from a particular organisation itself, in which you do your research in an internal manner.
The list of external secondary data sources can be just as extensive. One example is the data obtained through government sources. These can include social surveys, health data, agricultural statistics, energy expenditure statistics, population censuses, import/export data, production statistics, and the like. Government agencies tend to conduct a lot of research, therefore covering almost any kind of topic you can think of.
Another external source of secondary data are national and international institutions, including banks, trade unions, universities, health organisations, etc. As with government, such institutions dedicate a lot of effort to conducting up-to-date research, so you simply need to find an organisation that has collected the data on your own topic of interest.
Alternatively, you may obtain your secondary data from trade, business, and professional associations. These usually have data sets on business-related topics and are likely to be willing to provide you with secondary data if they understand the importance of your research. If your research is built on past academic studies, you may also rely on scientific journals as an external data source.
Once you have specified what kind of secondary data you need, you can contact the authors of the original study.
As a final example of a secondary data source, you can rely on data from commercial research organisations. These usually focus their research on media statistics and consumer information, which may be relevant if, for example, your research is within media studies or you are investigating consumer behaviour.
TABLE 5 summarises the two sources of secondary data and associated examples: