Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences examines the under-discussed process of exploration as a methodological process, providing a complete reference for carrying out this type of research. Robert Stebbins asserts the importance of exploration in the social sciences, then walks the reader through the process of exploratory research in an easy-to-read style. He: defines exploration, distinguishing it from serendipity; observes that exploration is not synonymous with qualitative research; examines the process of exploration and, more briefly concatenation; discusses the limitations of syllogistic reasoning; offers a treatment of the complex relationship between exploration and confirmation; illustrates the application of exploratory research through vignettes from sample thesis reports from a variety of disciplines; The book also covers the writing of exploratory research and the life of the social science explorer. It concludes with a look at the future of exploration in the social sciences.
Robert A. Stebbins, FRSC, is Faculty Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. He received his Ph.D. in 1964 from the University of Minnesota. Author of 30 books and monographs as well as over 150 articles and chapters in several areas of social science, his most recent works include: New Directions in the Theory and Research of Serious Leisure (Edwin Mellen, 2001), Exploratory Research in the Social Sciences (Sage, 2001), and The Organizational Basis of Leisure Participation: A Motivational Exploration (Venture Publications, 2002). Between Work and Leisure (Transaction Publishers) appeared in 2004 and Challenging Mountain Nature (Detselig), a study of three mountain hobbyist sports, will be published in fall, 2005. He is presently writing for Indiana University Press (with David Horton Smith and Michael Dover) A Dictionary of Nonprofit Terms and Concepts. Stebbins was elected Fellow of the Academy of Leisure Sciences in 1996 and, in 1999, elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.