Advantages and Limitations of Archival Research
Many times researchers rely on secondary data to get the information they may not have the time to collect primary data, face challenges in finding the right sample size, or lack the resources to conduct such research. This is where they often prefer Archival Research for systematic investigation of records and documents in order to discover and preserve information.
What is Archival Research?
Archival Research is the process of researching records that are created and stored by institutions, organisations, and individuals. The records may be in any format, from paper to audio or video recordings. The records may be created for different purposes, such as the administration of a company or a university. The person who conducts archival research is called an archivist. They work in archives which are in libraries, museums, universities and other institutions with collections of documents usually managed with the help of Archival Management Software.
An example of archival research could be a cancer specialist looking at a cancer research centre’s records from the 1980s to determine the prevalence of cancer symptoms in patients during that time.
Advantages Of Archival Research
- Archival Research provides an in-depth understanding and analysis of the subject matter.
- With the archives as your primary data source, you can be sure that you’re not missing out on anything.
- There are various resources to obtain and validate data that can be used for your research.
- It saves a lot of time which would otherwise be spent on travelling, surveys, interviews, etc.
- It is a cost-effective method of research as compared to other research options.
Limitations Of Archival Research
When done properly, Archival Research can be a very valuable tool for finding information on a topic. However, it is also fraught with difficulties.
There are limitations of archival research. Let’s get into the details.
- The researcher may not be able to find the exact information they are looking for. The researcher may also not be able to find the information at all because it is not available in any archives.
- The researcher may also come across a biased or opinionated source. This could lead to a biased or opinionated conclusion because the researcher will have no other sources to refute it with.
- The researcher may not understand the language used in the archived documents. It can be a big challenge in research.
- It may take hours or days to find the right document or information needed for research. Also, the conclusions are not directly available. Researchers may have to study archived data and obtain conclusions.
- The information found in these archived sources might be out-dated.
- Archival sources may not be available or accessible because they are not digitized or because they are kept in private collections.
How does an Archival Management Software help with Archival Research?
Archival Management System ‘iARCH’ provides a platform for preserving and managing digital materials. The system helps in the discovery of the right kind of material that is required for research. It also helps in organising, storing and retrieving digital materials to make them available to researchers. The system also provides a search engine to find archives or documents within the archive. It provides an indexing service to make it easy for researchers to find specific records or files by using keywords, dates, etc. Once you have an archival management system in your library, museum, or institution, researching data becomes blissful.
At Algorhythms, we provide iARCH, the best Archival Information Management System. It is trusted by the leading museums, monasteries, corporates, and libraries in India and abroad. With iARCH by your side, you can have custom dashboards, organise your collections, have a stable catalogue, manage multimedia content, use advanced search interfaces, export reports, and more. Interested? Get in touch with our experts to discuss your iARCH installation and customisation requirements today!