When conducting research, it cannot be helped when researchers look for articles and documents as sources of information to support their study. These documents help in validating ideas and proving hypotheses. This method is called documentary research. This research method uses personal and official documentation as evidence for analysis. The chosen word documents were written and put together for various purposes, so assessing their usefulness is very important. There are many types of sources for documentary research; things from newspapers, guides, and even diaries, these things can be used for analysis. This approach requires good comprehension and selection of the written word.
As you look through old photographs, letters, and daily journal entries, you can see details from the past that can serve as weapons in the future. Every document, every record, every old scripture contains information that can support any idea you can think of. Many great thinkers pursued their theories and beliefs because there was written knowledge to support and keep them afloat.
In documentary research, source documents come in many forms. Anything that contains information can be used as a source of data and evidence. You can use textbooks, infographics, and even letters to strengthen your ideas and prove your assumptions. But to ensure that you are getting the facts, there are four primary data sources you can choose from.
Print – the most basic of sources are printed materials. They serve as the primary keys to unlocking the potential and possibility of your research. Most of the printed sources are official documents, so its reliability can be assured.
Electronic – in the age of technology, data that is produced in print also appear on the web. The use of electronic data makes research a lot easier since everything you need to know can be found on the internet. There are even materials that are only published online.
Graphic – infographics, process flow charts, and figures contain all kinds of information. These sources are generally holding statistics and quantitative data. Old photographs and paintings also contain data you can use for your documentary research
Audiovisual – when you think of documentaries, you think of informative programs broadcasted on the television or the internet. Videos can also serve as valuable data sources since there are information that are better explained spoken and shown than written. This type of source also holds records of ethnographic research.
No research is better than the other; it’s all subjective. If the research methodology fits well with your study, then, by all means, use it. Especially with documentary research, just because it’s not as popular as other methods does not make its results invalid. And if you need to make a documentary research analysis, here are multiple documentary research examples and templates for you.
When conducting documentary research, you want to make sure your sources are valid. Reading history books and project reports from previous archival research are assumed legit, but a blog post or social media update isn’t too reliable. Just because a document is talking about a particular topic does not make it usable. There are certain characteristics and considerations you need to put into mind before using a specific text. These criteria make sure that the data you use is correct; you might end up having unsatisfactory results from using unreliable information. Your sources should answer to these four levels of evaluation.
Documentary research requires facts and not just bogus hearsays. Researchers must make sure that their sources are original and written or created by the real author. You might have to do a little digging to see if the author of the text is reputable. The document also needs to be real; you must ensure that no alterations have been made to the material. False copies can also affect your research paper. Forgery and fraud could cost you your entire research. Your research strategy should involve a proper examination of your document.
No one wants to hear about your prejudice on a certain topic. People want open-minded facts that can help them formulate their own opinions about something. This is significantly applicable in technical writings such as research and case studies. You have to make sure you gather credible sources. Case studies should show no biases. The documents you use for research should be accurate and fair. This is why you need to make sure your source is from a judgment-free point of view. You need to look into the reason for the compilation and creation of the document and the author’s purpose.
The relevance of a document should also be taken into consideration. This is what representation is all about. Researchers must find out if the material is representative of the topic sentence being investigated. You should also figure out if the data within the document reflects similar data from previously existing documents. The survival and availability of relevant documents also come into play. If there is no real artifact that supports the relevance of your text, you might need to look for another source of data.
The validity of data is mostly assessed in the context of the document. You need to understand the literal meaning of the text to find out if it is appropriate for your project analysis. The purpose of the text can be subject to the author’s perspective and other various points of view. The voice, language, and terminology used in the text should be taken into account. It is evaluated in two aspects: readability and interpretation. The readability refers to the literal understanding of the document and how easily it is understood. Interpretation talks about the way information is absorbed and contextual appreciation.
If you want to look back to the past, the best you could do is read old writings and look at old paintings. This way, we get to understand how things were five years ago, decades ago, and even centuries ago. Seeing how the world was back then, you get to realize the innovations of long ago. Legends and war stories can hold lessons to future scholars. So go ahead, learn from the past, and make a brighter future.