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Discussion Scenario

Secondary Analysis of Archived Data
In 2010, two health researchers, Drs. Allan and Sinclair, administered an anonymous online survey to 3,000 male firefighters and 500 female firefighters working in a large city. The survey was intended to elicit data about firefighters’ work and to examine how this work might affect their mental health. The researchers were particularly interested in work-related stress—specifically, whether working as a firefighter was associated with high levels of stress. The survey included questions on demographics (e.g., age, race or ethnicity, income level), work tasks performed (clerical, administrative, vehicle driving, mechanical, firefighting, and emergency medicine and EMS-related tasks), major medical problems or issues since becoming a firefighter, and feelings of work-related stress. In addition, respondents were asked to indicate what level of stress they were feeling (low, medium, high) and for how long. Consequently, the database created from the firefighters’ responses to the survey included variables such as age, race, ethnicity, income, years worked as a firefighter, medical problems, stress, and level of stress.
In terms of study methodology, Allan and Sinclair’s original primary research question was this: Is there an association between working as a firefighter and stress? Their original study design was quantitative, cross-sectional, and correlational. In their write-up of the study findings, the researchers indicated that a large percentage of the firefighters reported they felt high stress and believed that the stress had been caused by their work as firefighters. Drs. Allan and Sinclair reported that there was a statistically significant relationship between the independent variable (working as a firefighter), and the dependent variable (high stress.)

Post an answer to these questions: What do you think is the biggest threat to secondary data validity, and why? What about these data is beneficial, and why? What about these data is limiting, and why? What strategies might be employed to overcome these threats to validity and limitations?

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Secondary data is data not collected in the current research but collected earlier for some other purpose. It can be used for some new and/or additional research compared to original one. Sources of secondary data are previous data from studies, available databases or censuses data.

What do you think is the biggest threat to secondary data validity, and why?
The biggest threat to secondary data validity is the validity of primary data. The validity of secondary data depends on the primary data and this cannot be changed. In this case the instrument used for gathering of data was online survey, which has many disadvantages affecting the validity of the data....

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