The idea that science is a blueprint for research, and imagination gives research its life and purpose inspired this comprehensive explanation of research methodology. The authors' decades of experience have revealed that research is a craft requiring judgment and creativity, not simply memorization and application of the rules of science. Whether one is conducting an intimate one-on-one interview or a large-scale examination of an entire society, human imagination and scientific principles of inquiry go hand in hand. To that end, this book emphasizes scientific method, but also acknowledges its critics. It covers a wide variety of data-collection techniques, but presents them as reinforcing rather than competing with one another, thus striking a balance between qualitative and quantitative methods. It is designed for students and instructors who want a comprehensive treatment of a variety of research techniques with special emphasis on qualitative approaches.
Professor Paul S. Gray (BA Princeton, MA Education, Stanford) received his Ph.D. from Yale and has taught at Boston College for 32 years. In addition to teaching, Gray also works as a business consultant specializing in leadership development and corporate citizenship. Gray is the Faculty Chair of Leadership for Change associated with Boston College's Carroll School of Management. Gray has conducted research on topics as diverse as higher education in Massachusetts and labor unions in Africa. His research has been published in Symbolic Interaction, Industrial Relations, and the Journal of African Studies. Professor John B. Williamson (BS Humanities and Science, MIT, Ph.D. Social Psychology, Harvard) has taught at Boston College since 1969. He has written or co-written 15 books and over 100 journal articles and book chapters, and his writing has appeared in American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Social Problems, Social Forces, Demography, International Social Security Review, the Gerontologist, Journal of Aging Studies, the International Journal of Aging and Human Development, American Journal of Economics and Sociology, and Sociological Quarterly. He is on the board of multiple journals and societies related to the study of sociology and aging. His current research concerns the comparative international study of social security systems. Professor David A. Karp (BA Harvard, PhD New York University) has taught sociology at Boston College for 30 years. Karp's 1996 work, Speaking of Sadness was the 1996 winner of the Charles Horton Cooley Award from the Society for the Study of Symbolic Interaction. His most recent research uses qualitative methods to explore the moral boundaries of caring in emotional illness and conflict, and seeks to discover the cultural resources people draw upon when confronted with this dilemma. Professor John R. Dalphin received his undergraduate degree from Holy Cross College and both his MA and PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He has taught at Merrimack College for over 30 years, teaching courses in population problems, research methodology, social class, and social inequality. He is also the author of a book on the perpetuation of class inequality entitled The Persistence of Social Inequality in America. Professor Dalphin is a member of the American Sociological Association and the New England Sociological Association.