This paper contains a plea for the greater use of numeric secondary data as a routine part of all studies, whatever their primary method. It starts with a rehearsal of the current poor public image of UK educational research, and some of the possible reasons for that. This rehearsal includes consideration of the limitations in some examples of influential work by established researchers. The paper continues with a summary of the reasons for using secondary data, and one example of a project based solely on secondary data. It concludes that the purportedly poor quality of some UK educational research, allied to the potential of secondary data, might actually empower novice researchers, enabling them to critique established work and to conduct powerful and informative analyses of their own.