Review: Lindsay Prior (2003). Using Documents in Social Research
"Using Documents in Social Research" is an introductory text promoting and introducing documentary research from a sociological perspective. Two principles guide the readers of this book; documents as receptacles of content and as full-fledged agents participating in human activity. Its main strategy suggested for documentary research—following documents in use—is exemplified with numerous examples drawn from scientific or medical disciplines. The usefulness of this book is explored by using a defunct scientific publication known as the InfoMemo that once played a historical role in salmonid enhancement in British Columbia. It is also suggested that cultural-historical activity theory can provide a coherent and synthetic theoretical framework for documentary research with added advantages. All things considered, the book will be valuable for beginning social researchers working with documentary materials.
documentary research; cultural-historical activity theory; InfoMemo