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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
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySocial life is saturated by 'documents of life' both offline and online. They include diaries, autobiographies and letters; personal web pages or Facebook pages, policy documents, government statements and news releases; 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 these documents, by using documentary, visual, narrative, discourse & institutional ethnography methodologies. Its aims are to engage analytically with the documents of life and provide confidence in actually using methodologies to analyse 'real-world' examples.
Course description 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
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Develop a broad understanding of 'documents of life' research and an awareness of key ideas in the field
  2. Identify a variety of methodological approaches and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses
  3. Critically deploy (orally in the workshops and in writing through exercises and the final assessment) the range of methodological approaches to the analysis of 'documents of life' data
  4. Identify how documents of life research sits with other social science methodologies
  5. Develop an understanding of ethics as tied to research processes and analytical activities and not just programmatic statements
Reading List
Davis, M (2013) 'Doing research on and through digital media' in Andrews, M, Squire, C and Tamboukou, M ( eds) Doing Narrative Research Sage London
Hookaway, N (2008) Entering the blogosphere : some strategies for using blogs in social research Qualitative Research 8: 91
Page,R.; Harper, R. and Forbenius, M (2013) 'From small stories to networked narrative' Narrative Inquiry 23:1
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
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and 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.
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Julie Brownlie
Tel: (0131 6)51 3917
Course secretaryMr Andrew Macaulay
Tel: (0131 6)51 5067
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