|What type of source are documents?
|Who are documents created by?
|Individuals, organisations or groups
|Give some examples of personal documents
|Diaries, letters, autobiographies, notes, photo albums
|Give some examples of public documents
|Government reports, charity reports, business reports that are available to the public
|What type of data could documents contain?
|Qualitative or statistical
|Why do interpretivists use documents?
|They prefer open-ended research methods that produce valid, quantitative data that allows them to see the meaning attached to events
|Why do interpretivists regard documents as high in validity?
|Because they are the freely expressed meanings of those who produce them
|Why do positivists reject the use of documents?
|They lack reliability and representativeness
|How would positivists use documents?
|Use the statistical data or convert the qualitative data into quantitative data using content analysis
|What are 2 advantages of personal documents?
|- They often have a high degree of validity because they are created for personal purpose and so provide genuine insight into peoples attitudes - Cheap and save time as they are already there
|What are some disadvantages of personal documents?
|- Some personal documents can be hard to access - Some groups are unlikely to produce personal docs and so their views are not represented whereas those with the time and skills may be over-represented - Some personal documents are created after the event with hindisght - Personal bias may be present - Some personal docs are written with an audience in mind which could affect what is recorded
|Public documents are often what?
|Plentiful, detailed, cheap and easy to access
|Why may the contents of public documents be bias?
|The publisher is aware that they are open to the public
|What advantages comes with government funded documents like the Black Report?
|They are full with data that the sociologist would have been unable to collect themselves
|What is the only way we can study past societies with no survivors to question?
|What is the disadvantage of studying historical documents?
|Interpretation - meanings of words change over time
|Why may some historical documents give an unrepresentative picture of the past?
|Some are lost or destroyed
|How can news reports be quantified?
|In terms of amounts of time/space given to particular points of view
|What doesn't content analysis tell us?
|How do interpretivists get round this?
|They use qualitative content analysis to examine the meanings attached to particular words and images
|What problem does this have?
|Interpretation - different researchers may interpret the same image or statement differently
|John Scott suggests 4 tests of any document. What are these?
|Meaning, authenticity, representativeness, credibility
|What questions should be asked to test a documents authority?
|Is it genuine? Is it what it claims to be?
|What question should be asked to test a documents credibility?
|Can we believe the document and the sincerity of the author?
|"How typical is the document of a wider social group?" Is a question we could ask to test the...
|Why are documents useful to sociologists?
|They provide insights to social behaviour, they can provide a historical or 'insider' perspective
|Why may documents not be useful to sociologists?
|If they are limited in terms of availability, representativeness and lack of systematisation, and they may not cover all areas of sociological inrest
|What does this mean about the position of documents in studies?
|They are rarely the main element but often contribute an important dimension to the research