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Resistance and Adaptation to Criminal Identity: Using Secondary Analysis to Evaluate Classic Studies of Crime and Deviance

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 November 2000

Nigel G. Fielding
Affiliation:
Institute of Social Research, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
Jane L. Fielding
Affiliation:
Institute of Social Research, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, GU2 7XH, UK
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Abstract

Qualitative data offer rich insights into the social world, whether alone or in tandem with statistical analysis. However, qualitative data are costly to collect and analyse. Moreover, it is a commonplace that only a portion of the data so labouriously collected is the subject of final analysis and publication. Secondary analysis is a well-established method in quantitative research and is raising its profile in application to qualitative data. It has a particular part to play when research is on sensitive topics and/or hard-to-reach populations, as in the example considered here. This article contributes to discussion of the potential and constraints of secondary analysis of qualitative data by reporting the outcome of the secondary analysis of a key study in the sociology of prison life, Cohen and Taylor's research on the long-term imprisonment of men in maximum security. The article re-visits Cohen and Taylor's original analysis and demonstrates support for an alternative, if complementary, conceptualisation, using archived data from the original study. Among the methodological issues discussed are the recovery of the context of the original fieldwork and the role of secondary analysis in an incremental approach to knowledge production.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2000 BSA Publications Ltd

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