- Data that others have already created or gathered for their own purposes but which sociologists an use in their research.
- By registration and through official surveys.
- Births; deaths; marriages; divorces; crime; suicide; exam results; school exclusions; unemployment; health etc.
- Trade unions; businesses; churches; pressure groups.
- They are a free source of information, save time, allow comparisons, show the trends and are representative and reliable.
- (a) A true or genuine picture of what something is really like; a valid method is one that measures the thing that it claims to measure. (b) Because of under-reporting, under-recording, misclassifying of cases (e.g. crimes); because they are social constructs.
- Data may not be collected or available on some topics; official definitions may be different from the sociologist’s or may change over time; statistics may include recording errors.