The Self-Help Dataset 1955-2000: An Introduction and Invitation
Matthew E. Archibald
AbstractThe aim of this article is to disseminate information to self-help scholars about a unique data source, the Self-Help Dataset 1955-2000, which is now publically available for research. This article explores the key sources of data used to construct the dataset and links the data from those sources to published papers addressing topics from the organizations and social movements literatures ranging from self-help founding and disbanding rates to legitimacy and competition. Reasons for constructing the dataset were twofold: to address the question of the origins and persistence of self-help in the United States and to establish a baseline set of measures researchers could use to monitor trends in the movement over time. The motivating question underlying database construction was to describe how self-help evolved from a handful of groups to a taken-for-granted way of organizing alternative healthcare delivery. To do so, we analyzed national self-help organizations and looked at how the social, political, economic, and cultural environment shaped the growth and persistence of the phenomenon. While studies examining these dynamics have focused on self-help as it arose in the United States, researchers with interests that span the continuum of national states, markets, and cultures are encouraged to further develop these data according to their scholarly perspective.
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