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
Pub. Date:
Harvard University Press
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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, nonacademic 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: 9780674031579
Publisher: Harvard University Press
Publication date: 10/15/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.20(d)

Table of Contents

  1. Salsa Dancing? In the Social Sciences?

  2. What’s It All About?

  3. An Ode to Canonical Social Science

  4. What Is This a Case of, Anyway?

  5. Reviewing the Literature

  6. On Sampling, Operationalization, and Generalization

  7. Getting Down to the Nitty-Gritty

  8. Field (and Other) Methods

  9. Historical-Comparative Methods

  10. Data Reduction and Analysis

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

  • Appendix One: What to Do If You Don’t Have a Case

  • Appendix Two: Tools of the Trade

  • Appendix Three: Special Resources for Specific Methods

  • Appendix Four: Sample Search Log

  • Notes

  • Bibliography

  • Author’s Note

  • Acknowledgments

  • Index

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