Presentation on theme: "The Written Record Advantages and Disadvantages Analysis"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Written Record Advantages and Disadvantages Analysis Document AnalysisThe Written RecordAdvantages and DisadvantagesAnalysis
2 The Written RecordIncludes documents, reports, statistics, manuscripts, and other written, oral, or visual materialsThe most commonly used data source in political scienceCan be divided into the episodic record and the running record
3 The Written Record Episodic records: Produced and preserved in a more casual, personal, and accidental manner by individualsIncludes personal diaries, correspondence, brochures, pamphlets, and other materials
4 The Written Record Running record: More likely to be produced by organizations than by individualsCarefully stored and easily accessed; available for long periods of timeIncludes government, organization, or statistical records
5 The Written RecordThree advantages of the running record over the episodic record:Cost, in both time and moneyAccessibility of records—locating episodic records can be quite time consumingCovers a more extensive period of timeThree disadvantages of using the running record:Record-keeping organizations decide how to keep recordsSometimes difficult for researchers to identify organizations’ record-keeping practicesRaw data are not always available
6 The Written RecordAdvantages of the written record over other methods:Allows access to subjects who are difficult or impossible to research through direct, personal contactRaw data are usually nonreactiveRecords are often available for analysis over timeCan use a larger sample size than with interviews or direct observationLess expensive because record-keeping costs are borne by record keepers
7 The Written Record Disadvantages of the written record: Selective survival: record keepers may not preserve all materialsSelectively save (or detroy) embarrassing, controversial, or problematic recordsLarge gaps exist in many archivesWritten record content may be biased through incomplete, selectively preserved, inaccurate, or falsified recordsSome written records are unavailable to researchers: classified, sealed, or stored in such a way that they are difficult to useRecords may lack a standard format
8 AnalysisResearchers use the written record as evidence in different ways:Extract excerpts, quotations, or examples from the written record to support an observation or relationshipMeasure the number of times content appears in a document: a content analysis
9 Analysis Content analysis procedures: Select materials germane to the research subject (the sampling frame) and then sample the material to be analyzed from that sampling frameDefine the categories of content that are going to be measured: topics of interest within the contentChoose the recording unit: how to divide the content into standard units for analysis (a single word, paragraph, page, etc.)Decide on the numeric values that will be used to code each category in each recording unit
10 Quantitative and Qualitative Analysis ObservationField StudiesPhysical TracesEthical Concerns
11 Quantitative & Qualitative Analysis There are two general approaches to data analysis:Quantitative analysis:Involves numeric manipulation through the use of statistical analysisQualitative analysis:Relies on using quotations, comments, or anecdotes to provide evidence and support for argumentsBoth approaches are often used in a complementary way within a study.
12 ObservationEvery part of a research design involves making choices and tradeoffs—no method is perfect.The choice of data collection method depends on theValidity of the measurements that a particular method will permitEffect of the data collection itself on the phenomena being measuredPopulation covered by a data collection methodResources and the cost of a methodPublic availability of dataEthical implications
13 Observation Observation involves four methodological choices: Direct or indirectParticipant or nonparticipantOvert or covertStructured or unstructured
14 Observation Direct observation: Indirect observation: Observing either the behavior itselfIndirect observation:Observing some physical trace of the behaviorBoth rely on first-hand examination of activities, behavior, or events.
15 Observation Participant Nonparticipant Actively engaged in the behavior under observationNonparticipantObserving the behavior without participating
16 Observation Overt Covert Those being observed know they are being observedCovertThose being observed do not know they are being observed
17 Observation Structured Unstructured Observation follows a well planned pathUnstructuredObservation does not follow a well planned path
18 ObservationMost observation studies conducted by political scientists involve direct observation.Observation in political science is more likely to occur in a field study than in a laboratory.
19 Field Studies A field study is in a natural setting. Field studies hold many advantages over other methods:People behave as they would ordinarily, unlike in a lab.Field studies allow people to be observed for lengthy periods of time so that interaction and changes in behavior may be studied.Field studies offer a degree of accuracy or completeness impossible with documents or surveys.
20 Field Studies But there are disadvantages, as well: A lab setting allows control over the environment, including a more rigorous experimental design.Observation may be easier and more convenient to record and preserve.
21 Field StudiesRecording data is a particularly important disadvantage of the field study, but it can be managed.An essential aspect is note taking, because the researcher is relying on remembering events accurately for data:Mental notes must be written down as soon and as completely as possible to avoid losing data.
22 Physical Traces Indirect observation through erosion and accretion Erosion measures:Created by selective wear on some materialAccretion measures:Created by the deposition and accumulation of materialsErosion and accretion measures may be biased—certain traces are more likely to survive because the materials are more durable.
23 Ethical ConcernsEthical concerns arise primarily when there is a potential for harm to the observed:Negative repercussions from associating with the researcher because of the researcher’s sponsors, nationality, or outsider statusInvasion of privacyStress during the research interactionDisclosure of behavior or information to the researcher resulting in harm to the observed during or after the study