You are here

Social Science Research

Social Science Research
From Field to Desk

First Edition

May 2014 | 192 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd

This clear, straightforward textbook embraces the practical reality of actually doing fieldwork. It tackles the common problems faced by new researchers head on, offering sensible advice and instructive case studies from the author’s own experience.

Barbara Czarniawska takes us on a master class through the research process, encouraging us to revisit the various facets of the fieldwork research and helping us to reframe our own experiences. Combining a conversational style of writing with an impressive range of empirical examples she takes the reader from planning and designing research to collecting and analyzing data all the way to writing up and disseminating findings.  

This is a sophisticated introduction to a broad range of research methods and methodologies; it will be of great interest to anyone keen to revisit social research in the company of an expert guide.

What, why, and how?
Reviewing literature
Designing the study
Observation on the move: Shadowing
Following objects and quasi-objects
Tools for fieldwork
Surviving in the field: Practicalities and personalities
Excursions into the cyberspace
Analysing field material
Text analyses
Writing it up
Good academic writing: Beauty & credibility
When to stop, and what to do next

Written with much wry humor, the book-which is filled with practical advice, from how to treat sources, to why correct referencing is important-will be as enjoyable for an experienced researcher as it is for a neophyte. Read this book.  Recommend it to your students, your colleagues, and your professors. Hats off to Barbara Czarniawska.

Dvora Yanow
Professor of Organizational Studies, Keele University, and Guest Professor of Communication, Philosophy, & Technology, Wageningen University

Social Science Research from Field to Desk is a goldmine of deep yet practical insights into the craft of doing high-quality field research. The book covers all relevant aspects of the research process, from study design over observation and interviewing to good academic writing. Barbara Czarniawska is a particularly trustworthy guide, because she so clearly practices what she preaches, drawing on decades of highly successful social-science field studies of her own. This is a must-read for new and seasoned field researchers alike.

Bent Flyvbjerg
Professor and Chair at Oxford University; author of Making Social Science Matter, co-author and co-editor of Real Social Science: Applied Phronesis

Barbara Czarniawski provides us in this work with a timely and comprehensive look at a wide variety of qualitative methods currently in play across the social sciences. This is no dull and dry normative tome flattening out the field but a lively, reflexive account of a variety of methodological approaches, some tried and true, some quirky and innovative. All are wonderfully illustrated by exemplary work, much of it drawn from Professor Czarniawski’s prolific and influential writings. A thoughtful and creative methodological mapping of equal value to the novice and the veteran researcher both in and out of academic communities and a must read for those interested in what is going on at the edges of disciplinary and cross-disciplinary work in social science.

John Van Maanen
Professor of Organization Studies, MIT

Drawing on her vast experience of ethnographic research, Barbara Czarniawska offers a brilliant guide to the beginning researcher

David Silverman
Goldsmiths' and King's College, London, and University of Technology, Sydney

The book shares a lot of her author’s personal experience striving to illustrate the expressed ideas and concepts... it presents multi-cultural experience in conducting field studies and writing up academic publications.  It will be useful for students, scholars and readers interested in social sciences, humanities, economics, literature, etc. 

Stanislava Stoyanova

A very clear and reflective introduction to ethnographic fieldwork and research - I am sure it will be useful for researchers in social science and in health care.

Mrs Birgitte Toerring
Accounting , University College Northern Denmark, act2learn HEALTH
November 15, 2016

A very practical book that provides helpful insights into the world of research for the novice researcher

Mrs Lana Burroughs
Applied Social Studies, Bedfordshire University
June 10, 2015

The book is interesting and works well as a preliminary introduction, but I find it too general as a textbook for the course.

Dr Morten Kyed
Sociology, Social Work & Organisation, Aalborg University
June 9, 2015

very informative textbook, ideal for research required within the psychology field

Mrs Diane Julie Forrester
Community Studies, Truro College
July 23, 2015

Good book, explains essential concepts used in social sciences research clearly.

Dr Anshuman Sharma
International Business Administration, College of Applied Sciences, Ministry of Higher Education
April 6, 2015

Sage College Publishing

You can purchase or sample this product on our Sage College Publishing site:

Go To College Site

This title is also available on SAGE Research Methods, the ultimate digital methods library. If your library doesn’t have access, ask your librarian to start a trial.