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Documentary Research in the Social Sciences

Documentary Research in the Social Sciences

April 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  
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

A much-needed overview allowing the reader to sharpen their perspective in the realm of documentary research and to find paths to further information on different research methodologies.

Alexander Geimer
University of Hamburg/University of Klagenfurt

This is an excellent introduction to documentary research methods in the social sciences. Both comprehensive and accessible, it will prove an invaluable resource for students across a range of disciplines. 

Kevin Myers
University of Birmingham

Malcolm Tight has written an excellent textbook on that taken-for-granted method - documentary research. He provides comprehensive and clear coverage of the whys, whats and hows of using documents for research purposes. This book is an essential read for research method students of all disciplines and an invaluable resource for their teachers. 

Rosalind Edwards
Professor of Sociology, University of Southampton

Most social scientists engage in documentary research, but too few approach it with Tight’s rigour.  With lessons drawn from a dozen disciplines, this accessibly-written book is an essential resource for students and scholars dedicated to the empirical study of written texts and recorded material.

Jared Wesley
University of Alberta

In clear and cogent writing, Malcolm Tight articulates not only what documentary research is but also provides an illuminating guide to different genres, techniques, and examples associated with this often-overlooked approach to social research. Documentary Research in the Social Sciences is an indispensable, go-to reference for scholars interested in doing documentary research.

Brian D. Schultz
Department of Teacher Education, Miami University

This well-organised and practical text is a good introduction for students undertaking documentary research. It introduces a variety of genres of documents and provides an outline of analytical techniques for both qualitative and quantitative analysis.

Dr Louise Campbell
School of Education & Social Work, Dundee University
April 28, 2019

As a historian by training, but now within a Business School, this is a text to recommend to my students working on research projects (any level) to think this through at a deeper level. Particularly useful insights into the different kinds of literature/systematic reviews.

Dr Bex Lewis
MMU Business School, Manchester Metropolitan University
April 25, 2019

Much needed clear and comprehensive reference book from Tight on documentary research.

Dr Elfrieda Fleischmann
Geography and research, Cedar College
April 25, 2019

Interesting and readable introduction to the subject.

Dr Paul Demetriou-Crane
Education, Havering College of FE And HE
April 5, 2019

The book interrogates all critical issues related to documentary research

Dr Memory Mabika
Communication and Applied Language Studies, University of Venda
April 4, 2019

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