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What is the advantage and disadvantage of using the archival method?

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bertyfitz | Student, College Freshman | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted April 20, 2012 at 11:35 AM via web

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What is the advantage and disadvantage of using the archival method?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 23, 2012 at 10:38 PM (Answer #1)

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Archival research analyzes fellow researchers' studies or utilizes historical patient records.  The archival method has many advantages and disadvantages. 

With archival research, one advantage is that the experimenter does not have to worry about erroneously introducing changes in participant behavior that would affect the outcome of the study.  Moreover, the archival method is more cost-effective than other methods, because researchers can use internet databases to locate free archives. Another advantage is that archival research can be inclusive of long periods of time, thus allowing for a broader view of trends or outcomes.

Conversely, archival research also has some disadvantages.  The primary disadvantage is that the previous research may be unreliable, or not collected to the researcher’s standard; the researcher has no control over how the data was collected when using archived information.  The data may prove to be incomplete or possibly fail to address certain key issues.

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psyproffie | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted December 30, 2014 at 6:56 PM (Answer #2)

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Archival research is qualitative method of research in which you take data collected by someone else and analyze it in order to draw your own conclusions regarding your different hypothesis. This is useful for the type of research where you can access large quantities of information that has already been compiled. This is useful because it can help to reduce the amount of time and money spent on research.  

This type of research is helpful in a type of hypothesis in which you could not ethically assign participants to groups; it is also good and researching trends within a population. However a drawback of this type of research is that as a researcher you have no control over how the data was collected and what type of controls for extraneous variables were put in place.

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