Edited by Larry Dwyer, Alison Gill and Neelu Seetaram
Chapter 21: Archival Research
21 Archival research Dallen J. Timothy INTRODUCTION Archives are one of the oldest and most utilized sources of data known to researchers. For centuries scholars have used written texts and visual images to piece together histories of salient events in a nation’s development, lives of prominent citizens, or occurrences of interest to the general population. Today, archived data are best known for their value in historical research, but archives-based studies are becoming more mainstream in many academic fields, including tourism, as postpositivist methods have gained more traction in the realm of empirical research. In particular, archival data help develop understandings of how tourist destinations grow and decline, the long-term impacts of tourism in destinations, how certain populations have dealt with travel in the distant and recent past, and how policies and legislative actions affect the industry’s growth throughout the world. Archival research itself is not an analytical method but rather a set of approaches to understanding physical data and their meanings. Archives are data sources, and the methods that can be used to interpret archival data are manifold. Content analysis, regression analysis, factor analysis, semiotics, and historical documentation are a few of the most prevalent analytical methods for studying archived information. Since several of these are discussed elsewhere in the book, this chapter does not delve too deeply into any one analytical or interpretive method. It does, however, describe the nature of archival research and its various forms, and it provides a background for the technique and its application in...
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