You probably have in mind a general area or research topic you want to pursue. When you talk with one of the Archive staff we will help you further refine you ideas by narrowing in on four areas: Geography, Time, Population and Context.
GeographyLet's say your topic is about Earthquakes. We'll ask you to think about what geographic areas you'd like to cover with this topic. We will want you to be able to specify in terms of the following:
TimeWe'd like you to consider whether your research area covers recent events, or is historical or look at changes over a specified range of time.
PopulationWe'll ask you to tell us about the population or case group you wish to study. This can refer to a group or groups of people, particular events, official records, etc. In addition you should consider whether you will look at a specific sample or subset of people, events, records, etc.
ContextRaw data can be used in a variety of ways. Continuing with the earthquake example, even after you have specified the geographic region, the time period, the population and sample you desire, you will want to look at the data from a certain perspective, or within a context relevant to your area of study. This context will determine the type of data most useful for analysis.
For example, if you want to study people who have experienced high magnitude earthquakes in Los Angeles in the last 20 years, do you want to look at how quality of life is affected? Do you want to examine scales to determine emotional response to earthquakes? Do you want to study the relationship of quality of life and social or financial resources?
Copyright 1996 Institute for Social Science Research. Last Updated: 6-12-96 - Avery.