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A Handbook for Social Science Field Research: Essays & Bibliographic Sources on Research Design and Methods provides both novice and experienced scholars with valuable insights to a select list of critical texts pertaining to a wide array of social science methods useful when doing fieldwork. Through essays on ethnography to case study, archival research, oral history, surveys, secondary data analysis, and ethics, this refreshing new collection offers "tales from the field" by renowned scholars across various disciplines.

Key Features:
  • Offers real life guidance: Personal "tales from the field" by renowned social science scholars exemplify how fieldwork requires adaptation, adoption, and flexibility with regards to methodological approaches. In addition, thoughtful commentaries on how to conduct research and pursue a research career in the social sciences offer guidance on making difficult research and career choices.
  • Highlights vital bibliographic references: Bibliographies of critical texts help guide researchers as they broaden their methodological approaches and develop their research skills. This is not your ordinary reference list, but a compilation of the top classics and current, but soon-to-be classics, in the field of social science research.
  • Addresses ethical concerns: Discussions of ethical concerns are presented throughout the collection, as well as a stand-alone essay on ethical considerations in field-based research. Explicit attention throughout the collection to ethical concerns is rare among methodology texts, but required as field work becomes more complex and concerns about human subjects' safety grow.

Intended Audience:
Ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate social science methods courses, where there is a growing demand for multiple methods or mixed methods training; as well as a perfect, lightweight handbook for all researchers and professionals interested in having a comprehensive collection of bibliographic information for social science research

PART I: Selecting the Right Tools
1. Archives
The Past is Another Country by Robert Vitalis


2. Case Studies
Case-Based Research by Andrew Schrank:


3. Ethnographic Methods
Ethnography: Theory and Methods by Alma Gottlieb


4. Oral Histories
Oral Histories as Methods and Sources by Tamara Giles-Vernick:


5. Focus Groups
Focus Group Interviews by Susan Short


6. Surveys and Secondary Data Sources
Using Survey Data in Social Science Research in Developing Countries by Albert Park:

Bibliography on Survey Research

7. Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools
Qualitative Research: Does it Fit in Economics? by Michael Piore:


PART II: Essentials for the Conduct of Research
1. Essentials for Ethnography
Ethnographic Research by Stevan Harrell

2. Essentials for the Case Study Method
The Case Study and Causal Research by Andrew Shrank

3. Essentials for Research Design
In Search of the Holy Grail: Projects, Proposals, and Research Design, But Mostly about Why Writing a Dissertation Proposal is So Difficult by Michael Watts

4. Research Ethics are Essential
Ethical Considerations for Research in Cross-Cultural Settings by Sara Curran


5. Maintaining Perspective is Essential
Bringing It All Back Home: Personal Reflections on Friends, Findings, and Fieldwork by Andrew Schrank


"This well-written book has much to recommend it. It would be interesting, useful, supplementary reading for doctoral students, and other relatively inexperienced researchers."

Ronald R. Powell
Wayne State University

What an excellent book. There is a sense of authoritative confidence in every chapter, and the bibliographical sections are first rate for young researchers.

Dr Walter Riggans
Religion , Cliff College
September 23, 2016

There are some useful chapters in this but I found that overall it is too influenced by post-structuralist perspectives and not sufficiently focused or practical in some areas. Disappointing as a book like this is a useful corrective to other texts in the field.

Dr Peter Beaney
Faculty of Arts Media and Design, Staffordshire University
November 26, 2013

The methods course I teach is based in science and technology studies. I very much like this book, however the exemplars do not match my course. For this reason, I don't think it is suitable for the specificites of my class.

Carrie Friese
Department of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science
October 13, 2010

Excellent resource for beginning quualitative researchers

Anna Wilson
Education Dept, Chapman University - Orange
October 26, 2009
Key features
  • This text includes essays by renowned scholars which reveal very personal "tales from the field" and exemplify how fieldwork requires adaptation, adoption, and flexibility with regards to methodological approaches.
  • The book features bibliographies to help guide researchers as they broaden their methodological approaches and develop their research skills.
  • The work stresses the use of multiple methods—an overriding trend in social science research today.
  • An interdisciplinary approach makes this book appropriate from many social science disciplines.

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