Fresh, insightful and clear, this exciting textbook provides an engaging introduction to the application of qualitative methodology in the real world. Expert researchers then trace the history and philosophical underpinnings of different methodologies, explore the specific demands each places upon the researcher and robustly set out relevant issues surrounding quality and rigor. Featured methodologies include action research, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, case studies and narrative inquiry. This practical book provides a helpful guide to the research process - it introduces the relevant methods of generating, collecting and analysing data for each discrete methodology and then looks at best practice for presenting findings. This enables new researchers to compare qualitative methods and to confidently select the approach most appropriate for their own research projects. Key features include: • Summary table for each chapter - allowing quick checks to test knowledge • ‘Window into’ sections - real world examples showing each methodology in action • Student activities • Learning objectives • Full glossary • Annotated suggestions for further reading • Links to downloadable SAGE articles • Links to relevant websites and organizations This is an invaluable resource for students and researchers across the social sciences and a must-have guide for those embarking on a research project. Visit the accompanying companion website for a range of free additional resources.

Historical Research

Seán L'Estrange

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Trace the roots of historical research
  • Explore the diverse philosophical foundations that underpin historical research
  • Reconcile the unique position of the historical researcher in relation to their inquiry
  • Describe the implications for philosophical and methodological alignment when working with historical data sources
  • Outline processes of data collection and analysis and dissemination of outcomes in historical research


‘The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.’ These words capture a peculiarly modern attitude to the past, reflected in diverse aspects of culture from time-travel fantasies, costume dramas, to historical theme parks, and reinforced by institutions such as heritage industries, museums, archives, and the academic disciplines of history and archaeology (Lowenthal, 1985). It ...

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