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Documentary Research in the Social Sciences
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Documentary Research in the Social Sciences



May 2019 | 232 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

From diaries and letters to surveys and interview transcripts, documents are a cornerstone of social science research. This book guides you through the documentary research process, from choosing the best research design, through data collection and analysis, to publishing and sharing research findings.

Using extensive case studies and examples, it situates documentary research within a current context and empowers you to use this method to meet new challenges like digital research and big data head on.

In a jargon-free style perfect for beginner researchers, this book helps you to:

·         Interrogate documentary material in meaningful ways

·         Choose the best research design for your project, from literature reviews to policy research

·         Understand a range of approaches, including quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods.

Accessible, clear and focused, this book gives you the tools to conduct your own documentary research and celebrates the importance of documentary analysis across the social sciences.

 
 

 
Part I: Starting Documentary Research
 
Chapter 1: Introduction
What this Book is For

 
What the Book Contains

 
How to Use this Book

 
 
Chapter 2: Documents and Documentary Research
What is a Document?

 
Varieties of Document

 
The Possibilities and Advantages of Documentary Research

 
Documents in, or as the Focus of, Research

 
The Purposes and Usages of Documents

 
 
Chapter 3: Finding and Reading Documents
Accessing Documents

 
Ethical Issues

 
Sampling and Selection

 
Issues to Consider when Researching Documents

 
How to Read Documents

 
Keeping Records

 
 
Chapter 4: Documentary Research in the Disciplines
Documentary Research in the Social Sciences

 
Documentary Research outside the Social Sciences

 
 
Part II: Genres of Documentary Research
 
Chapter 5: Designing Documentary Research
Documentary Research Designs

 
Documentary Research and Other Research Designs

 
Documentary Research in Combination with Other Research Designs

 
 
Chapter 6: Literature Reviews
The Nature of Literature Reviews

 
The Functions of Literature Reviews

 
Types of Literature Review

 
 
Chapter 7: Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses
Systematic Reviews

 
Meta-Analyses

 
 
Chapter 8: Secondary Data Research
Secondary Data and Secondary Data Analysis

 
Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Data Research

 
Types of Secondary Data Analysis

 
Examples of Secondary Data Analysis

 
Where to Get Secondary Data

 
 
Chapter 9: Archival and Historical Research
The Nature of Archival and Historical Research

 
Types of Data and Sources

 
Examples of Archival and Historical Research

 
 
Chapter 10: Policy Research
The Nature of Policy and Policy Research

 
Types of Policy Research

 
Examples of Policy Research

 
 
Part III: Techniques for Documentary Analysis
 
Chapter 11: Analysing Documents
Analysis of Written Texts

 
Analysis of Audio-Visual Texts

 
 
Chapter 12: Quantitative Approaches
Simple Quantitative Analysis

 
Quantitative Content Analysis

 
Other Forms of Quantitative Documentary Analysis

 
 
Chapter 13: Qualitative Approaches
Thematic Analysis

 
Qualitative Content Analysis

 
Discourse Analysis

 
Conversation Analysis

 
Narrative Analysis

 
 
Chapter 14: Mixed Methods Approaches
Triangulation and Mixed Methods

 
Why and How to Combine Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches in Documentary Research

 
Examples of Mixed Methods Documentary Research

 
 
Part IV: Where Next?
 
Chapter 15: Sharing and Disseminating your Research
Evaluating Your Research

 
Seminars and Conference Presentations

 
Writing Up for Publication

 
Planning Further Research

 
 
Chapter 16: Conclusions

Amazingly comprehensive for its slim size and very accessibly written, this book will provide an excellent introduction for students and novice researchers.

Dr Brett Bligh
Department of Educational Research, Lancaster University
March 27, 2019

This book is good for secondary data research. Chapters 3, 5, 8, 12 and 13 are especially relevant for my module.

Dr Yujie Hu
Faculty of Business, Leeds University
March 26, 2019

an excellent textbook that will assists students at all levels, as well as researchers

Mr Richard Kotter
Geography & Environmental Management, Northumbria University
March 26, 2019

Clearly written and accessible this book gives a useful focus to a form of research which gets relatively scant coverage in generic social research methods texts.

Mr Robin Sen
Department of Sociological Studies, The University of Sheffield
March 26, 2019
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