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Deciphering the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: A Case Study in Source Triangulation

By: Published: 2019 | Product: SAGE Research Methods Cases Part 2
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A significant challenge to undertaking research in the humanities and social sciences arises from the highly subjective nature of the field. This has been the experience of the author’s research work on North Korea. Although the latter is a subject of increasing interest for scholars in the field of security and diplomacy in the East Asian region, acquiring useful data for analysis proved particularly difficult. I have found source triangulation to be a highly effective means of acquiring useful data for the purpose of research on North Korea. In this case, I will draw on my personal experience to illustrate three distinct approaches to implementing source triangulation, namely, (1) source triangulation of differing theoretical perspectives, (2) source triangulation from differing sources of data, and (3) source triangulation from differing academic and professional backgrounds. Even while extolling the effectiveness of source triangulation in the social sciences, I nonetheless emphasize that researchers must be wary of over-relying on this as a method to overcoming the challenges to social science research.

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