data archives

data archives

or

data banks

repositories for the raw data collected in previous social surveys. Such data, today often made available to users in computer-readable form, may be used to reanalyse data, and used in SECONDARY ANALYSIS, which combines data from several surveys and over time. As well as containing the raw data on many classic studies, archives usually also have extensive holdings of data on changes over time in public opinion. In the UK, the main data archive is the ESRC Data Archive at the University of Essex. Data banks can be a source of inexpensive, highly relevant data. The disadvantages of using such data are that a researcher is likely to have less awareness of the limitations of the data than those who originally collected it, and, where data from several surveys are combined, problems of comparability are likely to arise (see also OFFICIAL STATISTICS). See also HUMAN RELATIONS AREA FILES.
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