ISBN-10:
0674048210
ISBN-13:
9780674048218
Pub. Date:
04/10/2010
Publisher:
Harvard
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

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Overview

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

“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: 660,391
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

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