Documentary research in education can often be overlooked as an approach to exploring policy and practice issues, particularly for dissertation research projects. However, a range of documents can offer valuable data. In particular, school inspection documentation can be an illuminating and accessible source. Building on my recent research and teaching experiences, this paper provides a guide to utilising school inspection documentation from the Scottish context as primary sources for research dissertations in education and other disciplines. The intention is to support students and researchers undertaking research projects to navigate these sources confidently and to enable them to develop insightful analyses and discussions.
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