Reviews

Reworking qualitative data

Reworking Qualitative Data is, to say the very least, an interesting and relatively novel text. For many nurse researchers (including me), this will be unfamiliar territory and a refreshing addition to the staple diet of research methodology books currently available. As the title suggests, the book explores the possibility and principles of undertaking secondary analysis of qualitative data sets. As the author acknowledges, secondary analysis of pre-existing statistical data sets has been commonplace for over the past 30 years, whereas the secondary analysis of qualitative data sets is still very much in its infancy. Given the novelty of this approach this book serves as a useful introduction for anyone considering the use of qualitative secondary analysis. It is packed with thought-provoking and interesting ideas and attempts to cover all the bases in terms of defining the methodology, discussing the types of qualitative secondary analysis, as well as attempting to grapple with the thorny epistemological and ethical and legal issues. The author even offers modi operandi for those wishing to undertake secondary analysis of a pre-existing data set.

While this book is well-written, attempting to address all of the key aspects comprehensively, how useful nurse researchers will find it is debatable. This is because there are both practical and philosophical problems in undertaking secondary qualitative analysis (a fact the author openly acknowledges). From a practical point of view, locating and accessing pre-existing qualitative data sets suitable for secondary analysis is likely to be a challenging endeavour. Moreover, in light of research governance, there is a whole ethical minefield to be overcome in accessing and using data in a way in which explicit consent was not originally sought. It is noteworthy that the author includes a chapter on these types of ethical and legal issues.

Finally, from an epistemological viewpoint, some qualitative researchers are likely to find the concept of secondary analysis at odds with very ethos of the qualitative research paradigm and may immediately dismiss it as a

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While this book is well-written, attempting to address all of the key aspects comprehensively, how useful nurse researchers will find it is debatable. This is because there are both practical and philosophical problems in undertaking secondary qualitative analysis (a fact the author openly acknowledges). From a practical point of view, locating and accessing pre-existing qualitative data sets suitable for secondary analysis is likely to be a challenging endeavour. Moreover, in light of research governance, there is a whole ethical minefield to be overcome in accessing and using data in a way in which explicit consent was not originally sought. It is noteworthy that the author includes a chapter on these types of ethical and legal issues.

Finally, from an epistemological viewpoint, some qualitative researchers are likely to find the concept of secondary analysis at odds with very ethos of the qualitative research paradigm and may immediately dismiss it as a worthwhile approach. Conversely, however, it may be the uniqueness of this approach and its possibilities that may make you want to seek out are explore this subject in more depth and detail. If so, you could do worse than seek some of the answers to your questions here. However, be warned, you may also end up thinking, ‘yes, okay, but..?’

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