Reference Sheet G
Secondary literature and data
Secondary data is data that already exists, usually in the form of written documents, reports or statistics. Secondary data can be compared to, and can support, data you collect directly from the community (primary data). Compiling and using secondary data can help a community to build an evidence base for its efforts to strengthen resilience. Below are some links to secondary sources that document and show risk indices that can also help to identify high priority risk regions within your country:
Role of secondary literature and data
Secondary data are used to:
Develop an overview of the community’s situation in relation to the main areas on which resilience depends: risk knowledge, health, meeting basic needs, economic opportunities, social cohesion, management of natural assets, maintenance of infrastructure, and connectedness.
Highlight trends and issues that might be difficult to characterize using primary data.
Cross‑check primary data.
Identify other actors that have knowledge of and interest in the community or the area, and who might contribute to risk‑informed community action plans.
Sources of secondary literature and data
As resilience spans many sectors and issues, numerous secondary data sources can be relevant to community resilience efforts. They include reports and documents produced by local and sub‑regional government authorities, by specialized institutions, and by other organizations working with or near the communities
in which you are interested, as well as documents on community programming generated by your National Society and other RCRC actors. When you assist the community to look for relevant secondary data, explain that data may be available in different types of media, from local newspapers to websites and official publications, and that local, sub‑national and national sources are all likely to be useful.
Given the range of sectors and factors that contribute to resilience, the community may find the volume of secondary sources overwhelming.
The following criteria will help them select and compile the most appropriate documents:
Prefer recent publications. The more recent, the better. Trends in urbanization and climate change make it important to understand communities’ current realities. Seek out credible sources and authors.
Seek out objective authorities on the topics of interest. Possible biases that could affect the accuracy or objectivity of the source should be discussed and taken into account.
Balance qualitative and quantitative. Informative statistics complement qualitative descriptions. Numbers help explain the ‘what’ and text explains the ‘why’.
Cover all relevant areas. Many themes are relevant to resilience: once several informative documents on a topic have been identified, move to other areas.
Remain focused on the local level. Most secondary data sources are likely to focus on municipal, sub‑national and national levels, so it is important to help the community to obtain documents that focus on the local and community levels. While certain issues and trends are generic and affect many communities in similar ways, others are quite specific. For example, livelihoods can depend on very local resources, such as a water source.
Pay attention to inclusiveness, and gender and diversity. Secondary data sources may be gender‑blind (may fail to consider that issues affect men and women differently) or may neglect issues affecting minorities. Explain to the community why they should prioritize documents that are inclusive and note gaps.