Review: Lindsay Prior (2003). Using Documents in Social Research


  • Yew-Jin Lee University of Victoria



documentary research, cultural-his­tori­cal activity theory, InfoMemo


"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. URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs0401151


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Author Biography

Yew-Jin Lee, University of Victoria

Yew-Jin LEE is a Ph.D. student in science education from the University of Victoria. Currently, he is using activity theory, sociology, anthropology and hermeneutic philosophy to understand the development of expertise in the workplace. Other interests include science studies, social memories and ethnographic methodologies.




How to Cite

Lee, Y.-J. (2004). Review: Lindsay Prior (2003). Using Documents in Social Research. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 5(1).



Methodology and Methods