• Created by: edolling
  • Created on: 17-04-19 21:22
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  • Documents
    • Sociologists make use of a number of documents in their research. They use both secondary and primary data
      • Infinite number of documents are available for sociological researchers. The most accessible secondary documents available are published documents. Sociological books and journals are very widely used in soc research. Newspaper and magazines are also rich source, documentary analysis or content analysis of media documents is a common research method
      • Personal documents like letter. sometimes collections of letters and diaries are readily available as they are published but sociologists often are more interested in those ordinary people which may be more harder to access.
      • Use of  historicaldocumenst, include what have already been mentioned in the past but also parish records and unooficaldocuments.
      • Depending on the way these are analysed they are able to produce qualitative and quantitive data although they are useful source of qualitative data.
    • Some documents are very easily accessible with no great outlay of time or money, since achieve have spent a great deal of time digitising their artefacts and making them public online. But some media documents are online but behind a paywall which makes them less readily accessible.
      • There are personal documents in accessible archives they are not necessarily representative, do not feature documents from the specific people sociologists want to research.Accessing specific personal documents that are not publicly available presents more of a logisticalchallenge
    • those using documents to get valid insight into certain phenomena are unlikely to be greatly concerned about representativeness, focussing instead on the richness of the data. but sometimes there is a need to try and ensure that documents are representative. e.g some use of historical documents requires the creation of reprsentativesamples in order to be able to reach meaningful conclusions
      • For media documents, systematic samplings quite popular . With parish records if there is any intention to try and generalise the data to the rest of the population, thought would need to be given to the representativeness of chosen areas.
      • Some documents are unrepresentative by their very existence.
    • Documents give qualitative data and so more likely to prove valid rather than reliable. But it does depend on nature of analysis. Some use content analysis - its a research method where they attempt to codify a written documents. This aims to provide reliable interpretations of qualitative data that are being analysed by creating quantitative data.
      • An  advantage of content analysis is that it can reveal patterns which may not have been obvious seriously or may have been gained by based or subjective reading. a disadvantages the method cannot reveal the reason for certain patterns or the meanings it just describes.
        • Its possible to apply a reliable, systematic method of analysis when approaching documents can reveal useful information. But only use approach would be to miss out on a potentially very rich source of valid data.
        • Analysing personal documents can be useful. Interpretivits like these as they give insight into what individuals were thinking.
      • Important to not take documents at face value. Those researchers who do not try and quantify the content of documents, still try to take a systematic approach to analyse them and ask important questions. These same skills were used by historians when making use of original sources, just because a document is apparently someone private diary not mean its the truth
    • Letters were intended to be read by a particular individual, diaries might not have been intended to be read at all. Ethical issues, this might be less the case with diaries that were intended for publication but the intention undermined their validity.
      • While personal documents most of the other documents that sociologists use raise relatively few ethical concerns. The documents already exist, they have been either published or made accessible and sociologists can use them how they want.
    • Due to the wide range of documents, sociologists from a range of theories may choose to use them. But they are likely to be favoured by Interpretivists because ordinarily they provide qualitative data giving VERSTEHEN.
      • The exception are documents that can easily give quantitative data or where content analysis is deployed. This may be more appealing to Positivists


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