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sociology as research methods documents

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Stephanie Fontaine

on 24 March 2017

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Transcript of sociology as research methods documents

Learning objective:

1. To be able to understand the usefulness of different types of documents in sociological research
Public documents
are produced by organisations such as the Government or schools.

Personal documents
are first-person accounts of social events or experiences, they generally include the writers feelings and attitudes.
What do you think Positivists would say about documents?
What do you think interpretivists would say about documents?
They Favour documents because they achieve the main goal of validity.
They feel documents provide researchers insight into the authors world-view and meanings.
They tend to reject documents because they fail to achieve their goal of reliability.
However they may use content analysis on documents to produce quantitative data.
Historical Documents
This is simply a personal or public documents created in the past.
Its allows us to compare the past events or experiences to the present.
Is the document real?
questions the documents authenticity, is it what it claims to be? are pages missing? is it the true author?
Is the document believable?
This questions the credibility of the document, was it written for what it was intended for?
Is the evidence of the document typical?
Researchers ask this question to know whether it is safe to generalise
3 questions???
In order for positivists to gain an element of quantitative data, they conduct what is known as Content Analysis.
Content Analysis is quite simply adding up the repetition of similar terms and attributing meaning to them.

First you decide what categories you are going to use.
next you study the source. (tv programme/ document?
While studying the source you quantify how many times a category appears.
Advantages of Documents
It enables the researchers to get an indepth data with provides insight via rich qualitative data.
Sometimes documents are the only source of information available.
They are a cheap source of data, because someone else has already gathered the information
As it is existing information, it saves sociologists time
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