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Life History Research and Historic Analysis


Life history research is a sociological method that is in use since recent times only and it is like a case study on a single person and his life. It includes oral histories, autobiographies, narratives, interview etc. that are used to explore how individuals experience social life and periods of social change. It provides new insights to already existing knowledge as texts like life histories provide new voices. According to Rober Miller it is a research method that collects and analyses a person’s whole life or a part of a life through means of in-depth and unstructured interviews etc. The main aim of biographical research is to produce detailed descriptions of persons or conceptualize structural types of actions and to understand how persons and structures are interlinked. Life histories and other biographical material yield information that is written over periods of time and hence a gradual and deep understanding develops with biographical research. A cross check is made by use of available letters, new reports and contemporary reports. 

Historic Analysis

Historic analysis is a method that provides sociologists scope to look into the past and connect the present with the past and provide a deeper perspective about current issues and problems. In order to understand the structure of present society, it needs to be linked to its past as well as present society. Various sources used in this method are government archives, historical records, historical works and personal diaries. Historical facts are collected to gain an insight into past events related to a phenomenon. It shows the social values and ideas upon which present social structures are based. However in this method collection of facts is a stupendous task and reliability is a big issue. Historical data cannot be subjected to experimentation and statistics cannot  be used in this method. Documentary research is one particular type of historical analysis in which documents are used as a source.

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