Online training


Online training
BYO computer, your house, your address


13 May 2024


10:00 am - 12:00 pm

Getting to grips with research using archives, documents and material culture: An advanced qualitative methods workshop

This training is open to all ESRC and non-ESRC funded PhD and MA Social Research students within the WRDTP’s seven partner universities. PGRs from all seven interdisciplinary Pathways are welcome to attend.

Documentary and archival material is increasingly used by postgraduates across the social sciences and humanities. This can include written, visual, and audio materials, held within both public and private archives, and in more or less ordered ‘collections’. Finding secondary sources at the boundary of public knowledge, such as from charities, can expand one’s base of sources, but raise important methodological and ethical challenges. This advanced qualitative methods workshop will provide participants with an overview of how to go about archival and documentary research and the opportunities that this offers, whilst also exploring more deeply some of the practical and ethical challenges that exist.

The first half of the workshop will provide an overview of how, and why, to approach archival and documentary research. It will cover the basics of how and where to access archival collections, the types of materials that you might be engaging with, and different approaches to your data collection, management, and analysis.

The second half of the workshop focuses on building a deeper appreciation of the relationship between researchers, owners of records, and archival material, with specific reference to issues of access, power, and ethics. Particular ethical challenges arise when engaging with archival material on sensitive and/or controversial topics, with the potential to unearth ‘hidden histories’ and elevate the voices of ‘others’. We will explore how to navigate such dilemmas inherent in archival research and discuss practices which can be adopted.

Whilst many of the examples that we draw upon within the workshop will focus on the archives of voluntary organisations, the principles, practices and debates will be relevant to anyone interested in research based on archival material from across sectors, organisations and individuals.

This training session will be delivered online – a link to the training course will be provided to delegates closer to the event. This event will be recorded.