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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Postgrad (School of Social and Political Studies)

Postgraduate Course: The Documents of Life (PGSP11302)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Course typeStandard AvailabilityAvailable to all students
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) Credits20
Home subject areaPostgrad (School of Social and Political Studies) Other subject areaNone
Course website None Taught in Gaelic?No
Course descriptionSocial life is saturated by 'documents of life'. These range from biographical and local to institutional and global. They include diaries, autobiographies and letters; on line accounts such as personal web pages or Facebook pages, policy documents, government statements and news releases; economic, banking and other 'numbers'; reports in newspapers and TV accounts which mix talk with visuals with numbers of different kinds; academic research reports, data-sets and published articles; the leaflets and advertisements of organisations such as banks and food-chains; and the forms and requirements of institutions such as schools, universities and government departments. Documents of life provide social researchers with a real-world laboratory of texts of written, oral, visual and other kinds that help make up 'life as we know it'. This course provides a practical hands-on 'toolkit' mixed-methods approach to analysing the documents of life by using documentary, visual, narrative, discourse & institutional ethnography methodologies. Its aims are to engage analytically with the documents of life, provide confidence in actually using methodologies to analyse 'real-world' examples, and to promote a 'toolkit' approach to the use of mixed-methods falling under the aegis of 'documents of life'.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Additional Costs None
Information for Visiting Students
Displayed in Visiting Students Prospectus?No
Course Delivery Information
Delivery period: 2013/14 Semester 2, Available to all students (SV1) Learn enabled:  Yes Quota:  None
Web Timetable Web Timetable
Course Start Date 13/01/2014
Breakdown of Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 30, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 166 )
Additional Notes
Breakdown of Assessment Methods (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
No Exam Information
Summary of Intended Learning Outcomes
1. Taking responsibility for undertaking preparatory and core activities.
2. A broad understanding of the complex field of 'documents of life' research and an awareness of key ideas and practical methodologies and methods in the field.
3. Knowledge of the variety of approaches within each of the forms of analysis dealt with, and awareness of the pros and cons of any preferred methodological stance.
4. The critical deployment (orally in the workshops, also in writing in the exercises and the final assessment) of the range of methodological approaches to the analysis of 'documents of life' data.
5. The ability to strategically operationalise a toolkit of research methodologies for analysing real-world research materials.
6. Awareness of ethics as tied to research processes and analytical activities and not just programmatic statements.
Assessment Information
(a) Completion of four in-class workshop 'real-life' analytical exercises, each counting for 5% of the assessment, that is, 20% overall. These are group exercises and will involve research design and analysis of provided data, Completing the four exercises will secure the 5% mark for each; people absent due to illness etc will be provided with the data in question and can complete the analysis in order to achieve the mark. The exercises will not be further marked, although written feedback on each group research design and analysis will be provided.
(b) A 3000 word individual assignment counting for 80% of the assessment. This will require consideration of the practical analytical tools introduced and used in the workshops in relation to particular research questions.
Special Arrangements
Additional Information
Academic description Not entered
Syllabus Introduction: A Toolkit Approach to Analysing 'Documents of Life' Data
Doing Documentary Analysis (2 workshop sessions: eg. policy & government documents)
Doing Visual Analysis (2 workshop sessions: eg. photographs, objects, spaces)
Doing Narrative & Discourse Analysis (2 workshop sessions: eg. autobiographies & life histories, numbers as narratives, political statements & pronouncements)
Doing Institutional Ethnography (2 workshop sessions: organisational texts & contexts (eg. government departments, educational institutions)
Conclusion: Bringing It Together - Mixed Methods Toolkits in Social Inquiry
Transferable skills 1. Taking responsibility for undertaking core and shared activities.
2. Organisational skills in working in team contexts, organising divisions of labour, and agreeing hands-on shared working strategies.
2. Group and inter-personal skills in working cooperatively with peers, developing shared stratagems and trading ideas and competencies.
4. Individual skills and ability in planning and executing a larger piece of individual work.
Reading list Ken Plummer (2001, 2nd edition) Documents of Life 2 London Sage
Liz Stanley (ed) (2013) Documents of Life revisited. Surrey: Ashgate
Brian Roberts (2001) Biographical Research Buckingham: Open University Press
Barbara Merrill & Linden West (2009) Using Biographical Methods in Social Research London: Sage
John Scott (1990) A Matter of Record Documentary Sources in Social Research Oxford: Polity Press
Lindsay Prior (2003) Using Documents in Social Research London: Sage
Gary McCullouch (2004, new edition) Documentary Research London: Routledge
Gillian Rose (2006, 2nd edition) Visual Methodologies London: Sage
Marcus Banks (2008) Using Visual Data in Qualitative Research London: Sage
Claudia Mitchell (2011) Doing Visual Research London: Sage
Jane Elliott (2005) Using Narrative in Social Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches London: Sage
Catherine Kohler Riessman (2008) Narrative Methods for the Human Sciences London: Sage
Kathleen Wells (2011) Narrative Inquiry Oxford: Oxford University Press
Norman Fairclough (2003) Analysing Discourse: Textual Analysis for Social Research London: Routledge
James Paul Gee (2011) How to Do Discourse Analysis: A Toolkit London: Routledge
Marie Campbell (2004) Mapping Social Relations: A Primer in Doing Institutional Ethnography AltaMira Press
Dorothy E. Smith (2005) Institutional Ethnography AltaMira Press
Dorothy E. Smith (ed, 2006) Institutional Ethnography as Practice Rowman & Littlefield
Jennifer Greene (2007) Mixed Methods in Social Inquiry Jossey Banks
David Plowright (2010) Using Mixed Methods: Frameworks For an Integrated Methodology London: Sage
Study Abroad Not entered
Study Pattern Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Julie Brownlie
Tel: (0131 6)51 3917
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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