Strengths And Limitations Of Secondary Data Sources Involving Pregnancy Essay

Length: 4 pages Sources: 5 Type: Essay Paper: #67045720 Related Topics: Public Health, World Health Organization, Cdc, Pregnant Women Published October 20, 2022
Excerpt from Essay :


Healthcare Research: Strengths and Weaknesses of Secondary Data

The public health issue selected for analysis is maternal mortality. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines maternal mortality as death during pregnancy or within 42 days of a pregnancys termination for causes related to the pregnancys management (Hoyert, 2022). Maternal mortality rates are measured by the number of maternal deaths in every 100,000 live births (Hoyert, 2022). In 2020, the maternal mortality rate in the US was 23.8 per 100,000 live births, up from 20.1 per 100,000 live births in 2019 (Hoyert, 2022). According to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), 861 women died of maternal causes in the US in 2020, up from 754 in 2019 (Hoyert, 2022). There are many causes of maternal mortality, including lack of proper antenatal care, failure to obtain influenza vaccination during pregnancy, and failure to sleep under insecticide-treated nets. To analyse the relationship between these causes and maternal mortality, three data sets were obtained.

Evaluation of Dataset One

The first data set was obtained from the WHO and focuses on antenatal care coverage. The link to the data set is included in the references section of this text. The data provides antenatal care coverage rates across all countries between 2002 and 2019 (WHO, 2021b). The data measures antenatal care coverage by the proportion of pregnant women who made at least four antenatal visits in the course of their pregnancy. It provides a means to compare antenatal coverage rates in the US and other developed nations. If antenatal care coverage in the US is lower than in other developed countries, one could conclude that low antenatal care access could be a contributor to maternal mortality. According to the WHO (2021b) antenatal care increases access to effective maternal health interventions that reduce the risk of maternal mortality.

The metadata set does not indicate how many times other researcher have used the above data for their studies. However, Tripathy (2013) points out, that researchers have alternative ways of assessing the integrity of secondary data. One of these is looking at the accuracy of the methodology used in collecting the data. The data in this case was collected by the WHO Centers for Health Equity Monitoring. Further, the data was obtained through a re-analysis of multiple credible surveys, including the reproductive Health Survey, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, and the Demographic and Health Surveys (WHO Dataset, 2021). This triangulation of data sources enhances the accuracy of the data collected.

A second limitation of the data in this set is that it does not provide all the information that the researcher would need.…first data set, the owners of this data set bring together data from a variety of credible surveys that are publicly available, which helps to build confidence in the data (WHO, 2021a). Further, the data was collected recently, in 2021, implying that it is relevant for addressing the current research questions.


In summary, secondary data has its share of advantages such as being readily available, cheap to collect, convenient, and time-saving. However, researchers using secondary data often face several challenges as identified in the analysis of the three data sets above. First, it may be difficult to ascertain the validity and integrity of the data, and the user often has to rely on certain indicators such as the number of times the data has been downloaded for use in research studies. In other cases, the researcher may have limited access to the data they need, particularly when the data owner is a private organization. In such cases, a researcher may be forced to obtain prior authorization to access the data, which may cause delays, and in cases where the owner does not grant access, the researcher may have to forego the data altogether. The best practice when using secondary data, therefore, would be to ensure that one begins their study early enough so that they can obtain all…

Sources Used in Documents:


CDC (2022). Vaccination Coverage among Pregnant Women. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC). Retrieved from

Hoyert, D. (2022). Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States, 2020. Centers for Diseases Prevention and Control (CDC). Retrieved from

Schantz-Dunn, J., & Nour, N. (2009). Malaria and Pregnancy: A Global Health Perspective. Reviews in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2(3), 186-92.

World Health Organization (WHO) (2021a). Pregnant Women Sleeping under Insecticide-Treated Nets. World Health Organization. Retrieved from

World Health Organization (WHO) (2021b). Antenatal Care Coverage: At Least Four Visits. World Health Organization. Retrieved from

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