Legal, & Policies Studies
numbers reference Chapter 13 (pp. 463-499) in
"Analytical research, as a style of qualitative inquiry, draws from the disciplines of philosophy (the meaning of concepts), history, and biography" (p. 464).
Difference from ethnography: It is non-interactive document research. "Analytical research describes and interprets the past or recent past from selected sources" (p. 464). The sources may be documents preserved in collections, and/or participants' oral testimonies (oral histories).
Shares commonalties of qualitative research:
Rigorous techniques of criticism are applied to the documents & testimonies:
Five Methodological Characteristics of Historical /Analytical Research
1. Research Topic Related to Past Events:
2. Primary Sources as Data:
3. Techniques of Criticism Used in Searching for "Facts" (locating sources):
4. Interpretive Explanations:
5. Types & Techniques of Analyses: Select the type of analysis based on the research purpose. Principles of purposeful sampling are necessary for choosing examples in historical research.
Methodological Spiral Steps Used in Historical-Analytical Research
1. Literature Search: Identify topic, obtain background information, focus topic further, identify possible primary sources relevant to the narrowed topic.
2. Problem Statement: Develop a statement of the problem which delimits and focuses the research study. To do so requires reading secondary sources for background knowledge. "Limiting and phrasing a topic is a continuing effort . . . expressed most succinctly and clearly at the end of the research" (p. 474). Problem statements for historical inquiry delimits: (a) focus (such as group, individual, event, or concept); (b) the time period; (c) geographic location; and (d) the viewpoint (i.e., the theoretical orientation) of the analysis.
3. Limitation Section: The researcher acknowledges limitations in the interpretation of the study. These include: (a) limits of availability and accessibility of primary sources; (b) the focus of the study may exclude some sources; (c) lack of specialized training such as not being able to read the language of some of the primary sources; and (d) the time limits of the study. All studies have limitations which should be clearly stated so that the interpretation is valid within these boundaries. It is a serious flaw in the research if primary sources exist and are available, but were ignored by not being acknowledged and disregarded for good reason in the limitation section.
4. Purposeful sampling of selected sources involves criticism of the sources in the methodological section of the study, in footnotes, or in a methodological appendix. "External criticism determines the authenticity of the source. Internal criticism determines the credibility of the facts stated by the source" (p. 478). State the selection criteria in the study. Throughout analysis remain skeptical and critical of sources.
5. Rephrase the Problem: Identify facts, state generalizations from facts, and then infer causal explanations. Search for evidence and test the evidence with insightful questions. "The more questions asked of the sources about the topic, the more comprehensive and complex the analysis is" (p. 481). Modification and qualification from this process of external and internal criticism of sources lead to rephrasing the problem statement to reflect new understandings. Continue to return to the primary sources. Using a cyclical process the researcher accumulates information that enables the researcher to see things in the primary source that were missed for their significance in the earlier readings of it. In qualitative research the introductory overview is rewritten at the end of the research process. The problem statement clearly identifies the information that will be included in the study and information that will excluded from the study.
6. Conclusions: are an interpretative summary of generalizations placed at the end of the study and in the abstract. The conclusions must relate to problem statement or purpose of the study. Conclusions are justified if all the elements of the research are made explicit in the report.