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Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences

Salsa Dancing into the Social Sciences

Research in an Age of Info-glut

Kristin Luker

ISBN 9780674048218

Publication date: 04/10/2010

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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, 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.”

Praise

  • 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.

    —Michèle Lamont, Harvard University

Author

  • Kristin Luker is Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley.

Book Details

  • 336 pages
  • 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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