BN.com Gift Guide

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

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$18.62
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
$14.55
(Save 27%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $9.73
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 51%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (11) from $9.73   
  • New (7) from $16.05   
  • Used (4) from $9.73   

Overview

“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.”

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education Supplement
Kristin Luker has managed to produce a charming and effective manual on how to get through the research process with most of one's enthusiasm still intact. This is a guidebook for the methodologically bewildered, with an attractive blend of homespun wisdom, illustrated from her own research career, as well as glimpses of herself, her family and her enthusiasms--of which the salsa dancing of the title seems to be one--threaded through a lucid and accessible discussion of the elements of research practice. Although it will be a comforting and useful read for postgraduates, which is its intended market, it is already on my undergraduate recommended list. This is a refreshing and well-judged guide produced by an engaging writer in touch with a long career's lessons and the changing realities of researching today. For young researchers undertaking their first project or beginning a dissertation, it should prove an excellent guide. The book sets out to rethink the existing conventions of research practice...A great deal of the book's attractiveness lies in its refusal to pursue the grandiose and the ineffable. Endorsing what used to be called "theories of the middle range," this approach eschews master narratives and grand theory. A little modest realism about what the aims of social research can be, and ought to be, rather than inflated claims and rhetoric in pursuit of what it hoped to be for so long, goes a long way, and makes for a book that will, I suspect, generate a spirit of optimism in those who fall for its down-to-earth charms...Above all, however, this is a book to enjoy--and for a text on method this is rare indeed. Really enjoyable writing among social scientists is itself, unfortunately, a rarity, and it is a pleasure to welcome into the canon someone who celebrates the teaching role as well and successfully as Luker. Her determined cheer is a tonic, and a perspective well worth fostering in every student approaching the social-research process. More than that, however, she has developed a robust, effective approach to the conduct and practices of research and to the question of how one should prepare for research.
— Leslie Gofton
marginalrevolution.com
I enjoyed this book very much and I thought it was one of the best books on the philosophy of the social sciences I have read, ever.
— Tyler Cowen
Times Higher Education

Kristin Luker has managed to produce a charming and effective manual on how to get through the research process with most of one's enthusiasm still intact. This is a guidebook for the methodologically bewildered, with an attractive blend of homespun wisdom, illustrated from her own research career, as well as glimpses of herself, her family and her enthusiasms—of which the salsa dancing of the title seems to be one—threaded through a lucid and accessible discussion of the elements of research practice. Although it will be a comforting and useful read for postgraduates, which is its intended market, it is already on my undergraduate recommended list. This is a refreshing and well-judged guide produced by an engaging writer in touch with a long career's lessons and the changing realities of researching today. For young researchers undertaking their first project or beginning a dissertation, it should prove an excellent guide. The book sets out to rethink the existing conventions of research practice… A great deal of the book's attractiveness lies in its refusal to pursue the grandiose and the ineffable. Endorsing what used to be called 'theories of the middle range,' this approach eschews master narratives and grand theory. A little modest realism about what the aims of social research can be, and ought to be, rather than inflated claims and rhetoric in pursuit of what it hoped to be for so long, goes a long way, and makes for a book that will, I suspect, generate a spirit of optimism in those who fall for its down-to-earth charms… Above all, however, this is a book to enjoy—and for a text on method this is rare indeed. Really enjoyable writing among social scientists is itself, unfortunately, a rarity, and it is a pleasure to welcome into the canon someone who celebrates the teaching role as well and successfully as Luker. Her determined cheer is a tonic, and a perspective well worth fostering in every student approaching the social-research process. More than that, however, she has developed a robust, effective approach to the conduct and practices of research and to the question of how one should prepare for research.
— Leslie Gofton

Marginal Revolution

I enjoyed this book very much and I thought it was one of the best books on the philosophy of the social sciences I have read, ever.
— Tyler Cowen

Michèle 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.
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.
Times Higher Education - Leslie Gofton
Kristin Luker has managed to produce a charming and effective manual on how to get through the research process with most of one's enthusiasm still intact. This is a guidebook for the methodologically bewildered, with an attractive blend of homespun wisdom, illustrated from her own research career, as well as glimpses of herself, her family and her enthusiasms—of which the salsa dancing of the title seems to be one—threaded through a lucid and accessible discussion of the elements of research practice. Although it will be a comforting and useful read for postgraduates, which is its intended market, it is already on my undergraduate recommended list. This is a refreshing and well-judged guide produced by an engaging writer in touch with a long career's lessons and the changing realities of researching today. For young researchers undertaking their first project or beginning a dissertation, it should prove an excellent guide. The book sets out to rethink the existing conventions of research practice… A great deal of the book's attractiveness lies in its refusal to pursue the grandiose and the ineffable. Endorsing what used to be called 'theories of the middle range,' this approach eschews master narratives and grand theory. A little modest realism about what the aims of social research can be, and ought to be, rather than inflated claims and rhetoric in pursuit of what it hoped to be for so long, goes a long way, and makes for a book that will, I suspect, generate a spirit of optimism in those who fall for its down-to-earth charms… Above all, however, this is a book to enjoy—and for a text on method this is rare indeed. Really enjoyable writing among social scientists is itself, unfortunately, a rarity, and it is a pleasure to welcome into the canon someone who celebrates the teaching role as well and successfully as Luker. Her determined cheer is a tonic, and a perspective well worth fostering in every student approaching the social-research process. More than that, however, she has developed a robust, effective approach to the conduct and practices of research and to the question of how one should prepare for research.
Marginal Revolution - Tyler Cowen
I enjoyed this book very much and I thought it was one of the best books on the philosophy of the social sciences I have read, ever.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674048218
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 330,388
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Kristin Luker is Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.
Read More Show Less

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.


If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)