“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 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
Author's Note 311
What People are Saying About This
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
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