Looking at the past to inform the future.
Describing and examining past events to better understand the present and to anticipate potential effects on the future. To identify a need for knowledge that requires a historical investigation. Piecing together a history, particularly when there are no people living to tell their story.
Can provide a fuller picture of the scope of the research as it covers a wider range of sources. As an example, documents such as diaries, oral histories and official records and newspaper reports were used to identify a scurvy and smallpox epidemic among Klondike gold rushers (Highet p3).
Unobtrusiveness of this research method.
Issues with validity – can only use the historical information that is available today.
Primary sources are hard to locate.
Hard to triangulate findings (find other resources to back up the information provided in the original resource).
Edith Cowan University Library. (2019). Historical Research Method. Retrieved from https://ecu.au.libguides.com/historical-research-method
Godshall, M. (2016). Fast facts for evidence-based practice in nursing: Implementing EBP in a nutshell (2nd ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Highet, M. J. (2010). "It Depends on Where You Look": The Unusual Presentation of Scurvy and Smallpox Among Klondike Gold Rushers as Revealed Through Qualitative Data Sources. Past Imperfect, 16, 3-34. doi:10.21971/P7J59D
Saks, M., & Allsop, J. (2012). Researching health: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods (2nd ed.). London: SAGE.
Taylor, B. J., & Francis, K. (2013). Qualitative research in the health sciences: methodologies, methods and processes. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.
University of Missouri-St. Louis. Qualitative Research Designs. Retrieved from http://www.umsl.edu/~lindquists/qualdsgn.html