This textbook aims to give an introduction to the use of documentary sources in social research. It is designed to be a companion to courses in research methods in the social sciences and history and a reference text for those beginning research on documentary sources. The book begins with an overview of the nature of social research and the variety of methods which can be used. Scott identifies three types of evidence useful in such research - physical evidence, personal evidence and documentary evidence. He argues that the logic of research is common to each type of evidence, but that each involves specific methodological issues. An appraisal grid for the analysis of documents is presented, showing the criteria which must be used in evaluating documentary sources. In the following chapters these criteria are applied to the variety of documentary sources available to the social researcher: census data and official statistics; government publications; directories and yearbooks; personal diaries and letters.
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