This essay will critically analyse archives and documents as a tool for researching sports history and the legacy of the legendary race horse Red Rum.
Archives and documents are secondary sources of information and Hall and Hall (1996) identify that secondary sources of information should not be overlooked because of the usefulness of them. Secondary research is using data that has been collected by others (Scarrott, 1999) which "is borrowed" and used "to add something to your data" (Langley, 1987, p. 43).
Archival and documentary research includes sources such as historical documents, declarations and peoples accounts of events or periods in which they were actually involved (May, 2001) and these sources would be the best to use when researching the legacy of Red Rum because people who saw him race and also those who reported on him would be able to provide the best accounts of events, and they would also be able to provide their views and opinions as to whether Red Rum has actually left behind a legacy.
Secondary research can come in handy when you do not have much data to start with, because archives and documents are valuable for gaining a background on a topic and establishing a starting point to commence studying and Luck (1999) agrees with this by realising that archives of material specific to the subject will have to be looked through.
Using secondary data for research is in most cases, a lot quicker than conducting primary research as the data is already available in sources such as archives and documents, information relevant to a particular subject area just needs to be found, and archived information which appears in journal sources for example, can provide a good starting point for research because they cater for a "fairly specific readership" (Scarrot, 1999, p.76).