According to Scott & Marshall (2015), Documentary Research is
"Research that uses personal and official documents as a source material. Documents... may include such things as newspapers, diaries, stamps, directories, handbills, maps, government statistical publications, photographs, paintings, gramophone records, tapes, and computer files."
Documentary research is often conducted by social scientists to assess a set of documents for historical or social value, or to create a larger narrative through the study of multiple documents surrounding an event or individual.
Documentary research is often related to Content Analysis research methodologies.
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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.
Documentary sources have become increasingly neglected in education and the social sciences. This book seeks to emphasise their potential value and importance for an understanding of modern societies, while also recognising their limitations, and explores their relationship with other research strategies.