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For instance, if a researcher wants to determine whether the introduction of a traffic sign makes any difference to the number of cars slowing down at a dangerous curve, she or he could sit near the curve and count the number of cars that do and do not slow down.
Your methodology should be linked back to your research questions and previous research.
Visit your university or college library and ask the librarians for help; they should be able to help you to identify the standard research method textbooks in your field.
Items in other media can also be the subject of documentary analysis, including films, songs, websites and photographs.
Documents can reveal a great deal about the people or organisation that produced them and the social context in which they emerged.
Documentary analysis involves obtaining data from existing documents without having to question people through interview, questionnaires or observe their behaviour.
Documentary analysis is the main way that historians obtain data about their research subjects, but it can also be a valuable tool for contemporary social scientists.
Documents are tangible materials in which facts or ideas have been recorded.
Typically, we think of items written or produced on paper, such as newspaper articles, Government policy records, leaflets and minutes of meetings.
Questionnaires require a great deal of care in their design and delivery, but a well-developed questionnaire can be distributed to a much larger number of people than it would be possible to interview.
Questionnaires are particularly well suited for research seeking to measure some parameters for a group of people (e.g., average age, percentage agreeing with a proposition, level of awareness of an issue), or to make comparisons between groups of people (e.g., to determine whether members of different generations held the same or different views on immigration).