[Air-l] Question re Size of Data Set...

Dr.Cameron Adams C.L.Adams at kent.ac.uk
Fri Jan 26 00:29:22 PST 2007


Caveat: these are suggestions from an anthropologist, follow at your 
own risk ;0)

I think the answer to your question is really dependant on your focus.  
If the bulk of your work is on what has happened in the past, you will 
have to really dig into the 4000 pages as would a historian.  It only 
amounts to about 20 books if each page averages to paper page length 
which I speculate don't.  I would then use the questionnaire to test 
whether your findings seem to hold.  In this case I'd use a closed 
answer survey type device (binary fixed-response, likert scale, etc.)If 
you are more interested in what they say about your question, you can 
be a bit easier on your archives and just look for themes and issues to 
put into a more open ended type of questionnaire and spend a lot of 
time analysing and interpreting that material.  Of course, if you want 
to compare what they did to what they think about it (or think they do) 
you have to really hit both sources of data.

Also, in terms of careerist motivation, collecting and at least 
categorising more data than you use in the dissertation is good because 
it gives you lots to publish from.

Cameron Adams
Research Associate
Department of Anthropology
University of Kent

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