This is a question for my Public Health colleagues-I am narrowing down on my thesis project and I’ve some lead. I want to analyze an existing data that have been collected by a Ministry of Health and use it towards completion of my project. The outcome of this analysis will produce new knowledge that will lead to some decision that will be useful. Can i use this data as part of my thesis project? is it allowed? what do you call this data analysis project? I would appreciate some feedback from my learned friends in the field of public health. much appreciated
What you’re referring to is called secondary data analysis. That is, you are analysing data collected for a different purpose by someone else in hopes of answering a new research question. I think you’d find it really useful to read some of these sources on doing secondary data analysis.
If you can get hold of it, this book would be really really useful for you: Boslaugh, S. (2007). Secondary Data Sources for Public Health: A Practical Guide. United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press.
Abdi, you could use the data as they stand, or if you have enough information, reanalyze and produce different outcomes which might challenge the Ministry’s conclusions. Either way, the eventual interpretation would be your own. You may need to collect your own primary data too.