Pub. Date:
Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut

Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences: Research in an Age of Info-glut

by Kristin Luker
Current price is , Original price is $22.5. You

Temporarily Out of Stock Online

Please check back later for updated availability.


“You might think that dancing doesn’t have a lot to do with social research, and doing social research is probably why you picked this book up in the first place. But trust me. Salsa dancing is a practice as well as a metaphor for a kind of research that will make your life easier and better.”

Savvy, witty, and sensible, this unique book is both a handbook for defining and completing a research project, and an astute introduction to the neglected history and changeable philosophy of modern social science. In this volume, Kristin Luker guides novice researchers in: knowing the difference between an area of interest and a research topic; defining the relevant parts of a potentially infinite research literature; mastering sampling, operationalization, and generalization; understanding which research methods best answer your questions; beating writer’s block.

Most important, she shows how friendships, non-academic interests, and even salsa dancing can make for a better researcher.

“You know about setting the kitchen timer and writing for only an hour, or only 15 minutes if you are feeling particularly anxious. I wrote a fairly large part of this book feeling exactly like that. If I can write an entire book 15 minutes at a time, so can you.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674048218
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/10/2010
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 722,615
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Kristin Luker is Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

1 Salsa Dancing? In the Social Sciences? 1

2 What's It All About? 22

3 An Ode to Canonical Social Science 40

4 What Is This a Case of, Anyway? 51

5 Reviewing the Literature 76

6 On Sampling, Operationalization, and Generalization 99

7 Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty 129

8 Field (and Other) Methods 155

9 Historical-Comparative Methods 190

10 Data Reduction and Analysis 198

11 Living Your Life as a Salsa-Dancing Social Scientist 217

Appendix 1 What to Do If You Don't Have a Case 229

Appendix 2 Tools of the Trade 233

Appendix 3 Special Resources for Specific Methods 236

Appendix 4 Sample Search Log 242

Notes 243

Bibliography 285

Author's Note 311

Acknowledgments 312

Index 315

What People are Saying About This

Michele Lamont

Luker's book offers a startlingly original and unorthodox take on how to teach research methods, and is funny accessible, and inviting too. It gives a down-to-earth view of how knowledge evolves, how good research questions gel, and how to go about creating a research design. I cannot wait to be able to assign it to my students.
Michele Lamont, Harvard University

Rebecca Klatch

An irreverent and engaging mixture of memoir, history of research methods, and 'how-to' manual, Luker's book is chock-full of helpful suggestions to turn an idea (even a half-baked idea) into a meaningful and rigorous research project. The conversational style, the witty style, and the metaphors sprinkled through the pages make the ideas come alive.
Rebecca Klatch, University of California, San Diego

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews