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Using Documents in Social Research

Using Documents in Social Research

First Edition

July 2003 | 196 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

Using Documents in Social Research offers a comprehensive, yet concise, introduction to the use of documents as tools within social science research. The books argues that documents stand in a dual-relation to human activity, and therefore by transmitting ideas and influencing the course and nature of human activity they are integral to the research process.

Key features of the book include:

  • Alerts students to the diversity of social scientific research documents.
  • Outlines the various strategies and debates that need to be considered in order to integrate the study of documents into a research project.
  • Offers a number of examples where documents have been used within a variety of research contexts.

The book is written in an easy and engaging style which makes it accessible to undergraduates and postgraduate students. It will be essential reading for students and researchers across a range of social science disciplines.

Basic Themes
Use, Production and Content

Producing Facts
Documents in Action I
Documents in Organizational Settings

Documents in Action II
Making Things Visible

Texts, Authors, Identities
Content, Meaning and Reference
Doing Things with Words
Documents as Evidence
Researching the Inert Text

Production, Consumption and Exchange

this was somewhat off target, had hoped for more organizaitonal relevant examples etc. this was more towards literacy studies and such.

Mr Oscar Rantatalo
social sciences, Education
March 20, 2014

This is a superb book for those grappling with how to use documents in research - it takes approaches that are often methodologically opaque but theoretically influential such as ethnomethodology and actor-network theory and the work of Foucault - and clearly explicates their insights and applications. The chapter on "Documents as Evidence" is essential reading for those engaging with systematic reviews and meta-analysis and the biases therein. Other chapters engage with documents and propose valuable and important ways for students to break out of a seemingly default setting of "interview or survey" towards engaging with the multiple sources that are already available.

Mr Steven Wright
Division for Health Research, Lancaster University
October 21, 2013

This book makes using documents an easy thing to do. Recommended for anyone conducting research within their own organisation where access to data is relatively easy.

Mr Zedias Mutema
Business Administration , South Essex College
February 25, 2013

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