What is Documentary Research?
Documentary research is a type of research that uses documentary films as sources of information. It is a form of qualitative research, which means that the researcher gathers data from sources such as interviews, articles, and film footage in order to understand the topic being researched.
In documentary research, the researcher watches documentary films in order to gather information about a particular topic or event. This type of research can be used to understand how people feel about a certain topic, to learn about historical events, or to gain an understanding of different cultures.
Types of Documentary Research
There are two types of Documentary Research:
- Exploratory Documentary Research
- Informative Documentary Research
Exploratory Documentary Research
Exploratory documentary research is a method used to gain an understanding of the complexities of a phenomenon. It is often used when the researcher does not have a clear understanding of the phenomenon or when the phenomenon is too complex to be understood through traditional methods.
Informative Documentary Research
Informative documentary research is a process of gathering data and information about a certain topic in order to generate new knowledge. It usually uses primary sources such as interviews, journals, books, and newspaper articles.
Examples of Documentary Research
- One example of documentary research is the work of historian David McCullough. For his book John Adams, McCullough combed through hundreds of letters and documents written by Adams and his contemporaries. By reading these primary sources, McCullough was able to gain a deep understanding of Adams’ life and times.
- Another example of documentary research can be found in the work of sociologist Arlie Hochschild. For her book The Second Shift, Hochschild conducted in-depth interviews with working mothers.
How to conduct Documentary Research
When beginning a documentary research project, it is important to first consider what kind of information you need and what sources are available.
Often, the best way to start is by creating a list of questions that you would like answered. Once you have a general idea of what you are looking for, you can begin to develop a plan for where and how to find the information.
There are many different sources of documentary information, including books, articles, interviews, websites, and archives. It is important to explore all possible sources and use a variety of methods to find the most accurate information.
Once you have collected your sources, it is important to evaluate them critically in order to determine their reliability. This involves examining the author’s qualifications, the date of publication or creation, and the context in which the information was produced.
Importance of Documentary Research
Documentary research is an important tool for historians.
- It allows them to piece together a more accurate picture of the past.
- Without documentary evidence, historians would be reliant on oral history, which is often less reliable.
- It can take many forms, such as letters, diaries, newspaper articles, government records, and so on. It provides a valuable window into the past, and can help historians to understand how people lived and thought in different times and cultures.
- Documentary research can be used to answer questions about what happened in the past, how people lived, and what they believed. It can also be used to shed light on current events and issues.
- It is an essential part of any historical or archaeological investigation. Without it, our understanding of the past would be limited to speculation and conjecture.
Advantages of Documentary Research
Some advantages of Documentary Research are:
- Documentary research allows researchers to build a rapport with their participants. This rapport can be used to encourage participants to share information freely and openly.
- The use of unstructured interviews and focus groups allows participants to discuss topics in depth. This can provide researchers with valuable insights into the topic being studied.
- It allows researchers to observe social phenomena in natural settings. This can provide researchers with a more accurate understanding of how people interact in their everyday lives.
- Observational techniques can help researchers identify hidden themes or patterns that may not be apparent through other forms of data collection.
Disadvantages of Documentary Research
Some disadvantages of Documentary Research are:
- Documentary evidence can be biased. For example, a person may only collect evidence that supports their argument, rather than looking at all the evidence.
- Documentary evidence can be difficult to interpret. Researchers need to be careful not to misinterpret information or to draw conclusions based on limited information.
- It can be time-consuming and expensive. Researchers need to be sure that they are conducting necessary research before embarking on a documentary research project.