Aim: This paper describes the methodological issues associated with secondary analysis of large national survey datasets.
Methods: Issues about survey sampling, data collection, and non-response and missing data in terms of methodological validity and reliability are discussed.
Results: Although reanalyzing large national survey datasets is an expedient and cost-efficient way of producing nursing knowledge, successful investigations require a methodological consideration of the intrinsic limitations of secondary survey analysis.
Conclusions: Nursing researchers using existing national survey datasets should understand potential sources of error associated with survey sampling, data collection, and non-response and missing data. Although it is impossible to eliminate all potential errors, researchers using existing national survey datasets must be aware of the possible influence of errors on the results of the analyses.