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Thinking Through Methods : A Social Science Primer (Paperback) (John Levi Martin)
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?You don’t need to have ridden on the space shuttle to figure out why they blow up. You just need to sift through wreckage.” This is John Levi Martin’s lead-in to an explanation of where he gets the considerable gumption to write a methods book that covers just about every social science method without pretending to be an expert in each. He has watched others fail or succeed for many years. He brings us the results of his teaching experience with uncanny insight and marvelous wit. The book is, mirabile dictu, fun to read. Most methods books focus on just one method, or sometimes two. None of them attempt to cover the gamut from interviewing to observing to demography to ethnography to computational social science to ethics, etc. Despite the panorama of methods treated, Thinking through Methods has a unifying idea: rigor in social science stems from an understanding of where the data you are working with come from, and how those data sit in a space of all the possible data you could have gathered. Levi Martin’s focus is on the practical decisions that a researcher will need to make. A signal trait of this book is the way Martin avoids mechanical rules and mechanical applications; instead, he teams up with his reader to actually think through methods, and to think with methods. His aim could not be simpler: to provide a regimen that will help students do better work?in particular, work that builds on results coming from both cognitive science and reflexive sociology over the past half century. His audience is students interested in (or taking courses in) sociological research, both graduate and undergraduate. It is a user’s guide, suitable also for those not pursuing primary research but seeking a guide to critically evaluate the research of others. The book can be used as a sole general work in intensive classes that do not use an intro text, but also as a supplement for the broader course in methods using texts like Russell Schutt’s intro text, Investigating the Social World (Sage, ca. $98). Thinking through Methods is a reference book dream of sorts, combining the virtues of Booth, The Craft of Research with the virtues of Becker, Tricks of the Trade.
Number of Pages: 269
Genre: Social Science, Reference
Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
Author: John Levi Martin
Street Date: February 8, 2017
Item Number (DPCI): 248-28-8484
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