- Public Documents - from government departments, schools, welfare agencies, businesses etc.
- Personal Documents - First hand accounts of events. Letters, diaries, photo album or autobiographies.
- May be the only source available when studying certain things - like the past.
- Quick and cheap source of large amounts of data due to the data already being there.
- Not always possible to gain access to them
- May not answer the sociologist's questions.
- Interpretivists prefer them for their validity. However positivists reject them as unreliable and unrepresentive
- In argue that a valid picture is provided
- Po claim they are unreliable and cannot be standardized
- Some groups may not create them, therefore they may not be representative.
- Concerns can vary, public documents do not need consent
- Leaked documents- no consent has been provided.
- For private documents, consent can be difficult.
- Historical documents are less of a concern, esp if those involved are dead.
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