Primary Research

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  • Created by: R_S_E
  • Created on: 22-06-14 13:30
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  • Types of primary sources I could use for primary research
    • Interaction with experts i.e. professional historians
      • Better things to do than answer a students emails
        • More than one, keep emailing
      • Could be biased to one view point (their own) and want to persuade me to it = lessens the credibility
        • Get in contact with more than one and see if they agree, if they don't it will give me more balance
      • Could email historians or look at things they have said previusly
      • The author should have a good reputation e.g. if their works have been sited in other academic journals = credible
      • The author will have had a vested interest not to lie or distort the evidence as they wouldn't have wanted to damage their reputation = credible
      • They'll have expertise in the field e.g. a PhD in Ancient History = credible
        • All information they give me should be accurate
      • Can use them to answer precise questions which I cannot find elsewhere
    • Online Questionnaires
      • Possibility of leading questions which could decrease the validity of the response
        • Get another person to check it prior to sending
      • Response rate is likely to be low = not enough data to get a consistent effect = decreases reliability
        • Send it to as many people as possible to increase the likelihood of getting a large response rate
      • Sample to send it to might be quite ethnocentric / not generalisable to the entire population (e.g. just students of my college for instance) = decreases validity
        • Try and send it to as many people as possible from a variety of different backgrounds e.g. students, teachers, historians
      • Very difficult to write one of these to fit with my question for 'normal' people - could do one for academics?
      • Collect a lot of different types of data e.g. quantitative and qualitative which will give both depth and ease of analysis
      • With email they're easy to send out to a lot of people
    • Historical Artefacts
      • Probably wouldn't be able to get very close to them = I lack ability to percieve which decreases the credibility of my analysis
        • Use pictures on the internet to zoom in and really try and study in depth - doesn't solve this issue completely however
      • Works of ancient historians would have to be in translation for me so they may lose some of their meaning
        • Use the translations used/mentioned by others to get the best ones - can't really get around the language barrier
      • Statues, architecture,  pottery, mosaics, weaponry, archaeological digs, quotes from ancient historians etc.
      • I can try and analyse what they mean myself (I learn to do something) and then look at historians' analysis = lots of different interpretations to get a balanced view
      • Gives direct insight into history, the artefacts cannot lie just our interpretation
      • Get an idea of the time of Alexander itself - great for putting things in context

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