Researching Social Life / Edition 2

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Reviews of the First Edition

'... an ideal primary text for an undergraduate course in social research methods' - Teaching Sociology

'This is a very impressive book. It is admirably written in clear, straightforward language, so that I can easily imagine undergraduates responding well to its use as a core text.' - Geoff Payne, Professor of Social Research, University of Plymouth

'Provides an excellent introductory methods text that covers every stage of quantitative and qualitative research.' - Journal of Social Policy

'an ideal text for undergraduates in a variety of disciplines who are taking research methods courses' - Health Promotion International

The Second Edition of this widely adopted textbook for undergraduate research methods courses has been fully revised and updated to include an even broader range of methods.

Key features of this outstanding text are that it:

· outlines the main ways in which social scientists gather data, reviewing each method's strengths and weaknesses

· shows how data may be collated, managed and analysed

· demonstrates the necessary links between sociological theory and data

· provides stimulating annotated examples of social research using a variety of methods

· offers signposts to more advanced texts which discuss specific methods in more detail.

The Second Edition of Researching Social Life considers a comprehensive range of research methods including those that are emerging as a result of the adoption of new technologies and media, such as the use of the Internet, the analysis of multimedia and especially visual materials, and the secondary analysis of longitudinal datasets. As with the first edition, the text aims to help break down the artificial distinction between so-called 'quantitative' and 'qualitative' research.

This is an ideal textbook for undergraduate courses in social research methods across the social sciences.

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Editorial Reviews

Organized around the idea of the research process from deciding what is to be studied to analyzing the data and writing up the results, 21 chapters, presented by Gilbert (sociology, U. of Surrey, UK) offer information on methods of social research. Although the majority of the material focuses on providing exemplars of good research, some consideration of philosophy and theory necessarily enters the discussion. The vast majority of the contributors to the volume come from the same department and university as the editor. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780761972457
  • Publisher: SAGE Publications
  • Publication date: 3/29/2002
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 7.24 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Nigel Gilbert read for a first degree in Engineering, intending to go into the computer industry. However, he was lured into sociology and obtained his doctorate on the sociology of scientific knowledge from the University of Cambridge, under the supervision of Michael Mulkay. His research and teaching interests have reflected his continuing interest in both sociology and computer science (and engineering more widely).

His main research interests are processual theories of social phenomena, the development of computational sociology and the methodology of computer simulation, especially agent-based modelling. He is Director of the Centre for Research in Social Simulation.

He is also Director of the University's Institute of Advanced Studies and responsible for its development as a leading centre for intellectual interchange.

He is the author or editor of several textbooks on sociological methods of research and statistics and editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.

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Table of Contents

Conceptualizing Social Life - Geoff Cooper
Research, Theory and Method - Nigel Gilbert
Research and the Policy-Making Process - Alan Clarke
The Ethics of Social Research - Martin Bulmer
Designing Samples - Sara Arber
Questionnaires - Rosemarie Simmons
Measuring Attitudes - Mike Procter
Qualitative Interviewing - Nigel Fielding and Hilary Thomas
Ethnography - Nigel Fielding
Focus Groups - Ann Cronin
Exemplar - Kate Burningham and Diana Thrush
The Environmental Concerns of Disadvantaged Groups
Using Documents - Keith Macdonald
Exemplar - Martin Innes
Investigating the Investigators - Studying Detective Work
Coding and Managing Data - Jane Fielding
Analyzing Survey Data - Mike Procter
Secondary Analysis of Survey Data - Sara Arber
Exemplar - Jay Ginn
Privatizing Pensions: New Options and New Risks for Women
Computer-Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis - Ann Lewins
Analyzing Factual Accounts - Robin Wooffitt
Analyzing Visual Materials - Victoria D Alexander
Writing about Social Research - Nigel Gilbert

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