Workshop and discussion exercises

Practice with these exercises to prepare for your seminars and wider research.

1. Consider the research topics listed below. Which ones could be investigated (either wholly or in part) by means of archival research? Pick one of them (or do this exercise for a project on which you are working) and consider:
(a) What kinds of primary and secondary sources might you hope to find?
(b) What kinds of oral and documentary sources might you hope to find?
(c) How would you gain access to these sources and what problems might you need to overcome in doing so?

Some research topics

  • The causes and consequences of homelessness for single people
  • The effectiveness of community service orders as a means of rehabilitating offenders
  • The way of life of travellers
  • Assessment of the way the police deal with sexual crime
  • How policy is made in a political party
  • How EEG (electro-encephalogram) readings correlate with emotional states
  • Children’s reading preferences
  • Students and how they manage their academic work
  • Quality of terminal care of cancer patients
  • Sexual activity in public settings (e.g. public toilets)
  • The experience of trainee nurses
  •  School bullying
  • Racism in football
  • Victims of domestic violence
  • Sex discrimination at work
  • Right-wing political groups
  • New-age religion
  • The experience of boys in a ballet school
  • Analysis of archived qualitative interviews with elderly people recollecting wartime experiences
  • Analysis of media representations of ideal female body shape
  • Conversation analysis of calls to a computer help line
  • Ethnographic study of an on-line support group for parents of children with disfiguring conditions
  • Comparative analysis of discourse on immigration in US presidential and British prime ministerial speeches
  • Barriers to using HIV and AIDS services
  • Political discourse relating to illegal drugs use
  • Health worker motivation and incentives in low and middle income settings
  • Civil society advocacy for disabled people’s rights

2. Find a local or national archive that will allow you to do one of the following:
(a) Reconstruct the history of your house or home, focusing on its occupants or owners.
(b) Study the socio-economic composition of your street at one point in time more than 75 years ago.
(c) Study a major local event, occasion or institution from more than 75 years ago.