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“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.”
‘’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