Analyzing Social Settings: A Guide to Qualitative Observation and Analysis Paperback – 18 Aug 2005
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PART ONE: GATHERING DATA. 1. Starting Where You Are. 2. Evaluating Data Sites. 3. Getting In. 4. Getting Along. 5. Logging Data. PART TWO: FOCUSING DATA. 6. Thinking Topics. 7. Asking Questions. 8. Arousing Interest. PART THREE: ANALYZING DATA. 9. Developing Analysis. 10. Writing Analysis. 11. Women in Cities. Appendix: Exemplary Fieldstudies.
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The book is divided into three parts, which correspond roughly to the process of doing qualitative research: (1) gathering data; (2) focusing data; and (3) analysing data. In part 1 (gathering data), the authors advise researchers to conduct qualitative research that engages them personally, and in empirical contexts that are relatively accessible to them. This piece of advice has considerable merit because gaining access to research sites like organisations, communities, communes etc can be quite demanding. Furthermore, qualitative research can be demanding as the researcher is fully immersed in the empirical setting. Hence, researching an engaging subject appears to be eminently sensible.
Part two of the book is perhaps the best part of the book. The authors demonstrate their grasp of the vast body of work in qualitative sociology research. They take the reader through a detailed process of thinking about the data, asking questions of the data, and framing the research finding so that it is 'interesting' to other researchers. In Part 3, the authors provide structured guidance on writing propositions, coding, memoing, diagramming and writing up the analysis.
'Analyzing social Settings' is written for researchers conducting inductive, theory building/testing/extension research. The book is very-well structured; furthermore, its authors are well grounded in the sociological research tradition and illustrate the concepts using examples from sociology, political science, management science and even economics. The book is pitched at the appropriate level of abstraction for inexperienced as well as experienced qualitative researchers. It (the book) will be sitting in my reference book shelf as I complete my doctoral thesis.
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