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Paper Topic:

the advantages and disadvantages of doing documentary research


9th FEBRUARY 2009

Documentary research is a type of collecting , recording , analyzing interpreting of information from secondary sources such as texts and magazines , newss , journals and government publications . Other sources include census publications , novels , film and video , paintings and the internet . The first advantage of such an approach to doing research is that it is usually readily available . The information to be used in documentary research can be accessed by researchers by simply visiting the resource centers or just browsing the internet (Desey , 2003

br pp 34-56

The second advantage is that doing this research is less expensive as compared to surveys and ethnography . For surveys one has to do a pilot study , and then do actual field data collection incurring traveling expenses . Experimentation may involve use of scientific apparatus that have to be purchased . The only costs involved in documentary research may be bureau and miscellaneous expenses . The third advantage is that some information may only be obtained by secondary sources . For example information on ancient histories which can not be found by interview surveys or archaeological data that has been documented but the sites have changed can only be obtained from libraries or museum (Relix , 2002 pp 56-78

Despite the above merits , documentary research has the following limitations . Information obtained may be biased . Personal biases and prejudices could have influenced past work that was documented by authors . Such information may therefore lack credibility and hence research findings based on such work...

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