Document Analysis Method of Data Collection

Document Analysis

According to Babbie (2010), document analysis is “the study of recorded human communications, such as books, websites, paintings and laws” (p.530). Document analysis is a method of data collection which involves analysis of content from written documents in order to make certain deductions based on the study parameters. The method is mainly used in qualitative research as a method of qualitative analysis.


In analysis of document, the researcher must bring out the document type (eg., report, records etc), the kind of document it is (government or institution document), its dates, where written, author and title, the aim of the document, the factual information contained, why the document is a valuable source of information, how the document can be used, what the document does not answer and could be answered by the author should all be brought out (Marshall, and Rossman, 1995). This is done in order to validate the documents.


One of the main advantages of document analysis is that the method facilitates the collection of a large amount of reliable information without necessarily questioning many people.


The method is however limited in terms of the following: It is based on secondary data and as such, is likely to have some errors. The analysis is also a laborious one and requires certain level of expertise.



In a study on the methods of teaching the mentally challenged and communication deficient learners in public primary schools in Kenya, the researcher employed document analysis method. 

In this study, the researcher dealt with the records of the learners with disabilities from special unit of the selected schools.  These records were analyzed with the aim of retrieving key information about the mentally challenged and communication deficient learners. The details about the academic progress of particular learners and the difficulties experienced by learners in the learning process were extracted from the available documents.

Anthony M. Wanjohi



Babbie, E.R. (2010). The Practice of Social Research (12th ed.). Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.

Marshall, C. & Rossman, G.B. (1995). Designing Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications.