Secondary Data and Agency Records
The most common source of data in Criminal Justice Research.
Most commonly used in descriptive or exploratory studies. This is consistent with the fact that many of the criminal justice data published by the government agencies are intended to describe something. For instance, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) publishes annual figures on police population this is considered published statistics.
Types of Agency Records:
- published statistics (Government organizations routinely collect and public)
- nonpublic agency records (routinely collected for internal use).
- new data (collected by agency staff for specific research purposes).
Data collected by someone other than the user
Agency Records support a wide variety of research applications
The key to distinguishing appropriate and inappropriate uses of agency records and secondary data is understanding how these written records are produced.
ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES
The disadvantages of using Secondary Data are similar to Agency Records. Data previously collected by a researcher may not match our own needs.
- Save cost and time
- Involves very little time effort and $
- In some cases more accurate then primary data
- May not be on target with the research problem
- Quality & accuracy of the data may pose a problem