Archival research is one of the longest established data gathering methods in the social sciences. But it is also undergoing major transformation amid the technological revolutions in information storage, access, and transmission of the digital age. This workshop offers an introduction to the specific opportunities and obstacles, advantages and limitations of archival research for social scientists today. We will read methodological pieces alongside selected examples of archive-based research in comparative and international studies. Our goal here is to identify, compare, and evaluate specific choices made by actual researchers in the collection and analysis of source materials. In two of the four sessions we will take advantage of ways in which the digital age is transforming information availability to do hands-on online activities learning about archive procedures and holdings and the interpretation of archival sources.
This workshop can either be taken as a stand-alone one-day module, or as a supplement to the two-day workshop surveying “Historical Analysis and Historical Methods.”