Research data are everywhere. In our everyday interactions, through social media, credit cards and even public transport, we generate and use data. The challenge for sociologists is how to collect, analyse and make best use of these vast arrays of information.
- The chapters in this book address these challenges using varied perspectives and approaches:
- The economics of big data and measuring the trajectories of recently arrived communities
- Social media and social research
- Researching 'elites', social class and 'race' across space and place
- Innovations in qualitative research and use of extended case studies
- Developing mixed method approaches and social network analysis
- Feminist quantitative methodology
- Teaching quantitative methods
The book provides up to date and accessible material of interest to diverse audiences, including students and teachers of research design and methods, as well as policy analysis and social media.
Table of Contents
Introduction, Linda McKie and Louise Ryan Part I: Big Data, Big Issues 1. Big Data Economies and Ecologies, Evelyn Ruppert 2. Minority Communities in Britain: Pathways to success as revealed by big data, Richard Webber and Trevor Phillips 3. Digging Deeper: Big data, elites and investigative research, David Miller and William Dinan 4. ‘Studying Up’ in the Era of Big Data, Roger Burrows 5. Critically Engaging with Social Media Research Methods, Dhiraj Murthy Part II: Mixing Methods: Research and teaching 6. Explanation and Empirical Social Research: Getting beyond description whilst still making it interesting!, David Byrne 7. Towards a Quantitative Feminist Methodology: The Possibilities of a methodological oxymoron, Rachel Cohen 8. Beyond the Interview: Ethnicity/‘Race’ in sociological research, Annabel Tremlett and Roxy Harris 9. Social Network Analysis: A mixed method approach, Alessio D’Angelo and Louise Ryan 10. Making Sociology Count: Some evidence and context in the teaching of quantitative methods in the UK, Malcolm Williams, Geoff Payne and Luke Sloane Epilogue: From the ‘Coming Crisis’ to the ‘Green Shoots of Recovery’?, Mike Savage
Linda McKie is Professor of Sociology and Head of the School of Applied Social Sciences, Durham University. She is the author of over 120 publications on research methods, care, gender, work and families, and health. Recent research has considered working life among low paid, women, female middle managers and senior women opting out of corporate employment. Linda’s research is also considering veterans families and transitions into civilian life. Recent theoretical work has explored the use of biographical matching and focus groups as well as revisions to the analytical framework caringscapes, which she developed with colleagues in the 1990s. Her most recent publications include McKie et al. (2013) "The Best Time is Now!": The Temporal and Spatial Dynamics of Women Opting in to Self-Employment, Gender, Work and Organization, 20, 2, 184-196 and Biese and McKie (2015) Opting in: Women in search of well-being in Connerley and Wu (eds) The Handbook on Well-Being of Working Women. New York: Springer Press.
Louise Ryan is Professor of Sociology and Co-Director of the Social Policy Research Centre at Middlesex University (www.sprc.info). She has published extensively on migration and social networks, ethnicity, religion, gender and research methods. Louise's work has appeared in international journals such as Sociology, Sociological Review, Global Networks, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies and International Migration. She has co-edited (with Wendy Webster) Gendering Migration: masculinity, femininity and ethnicity in post-war Britain (Ashgate, 2008). Louise has held several research grants from the Economic and Social Research Council, as well as leading projects commissioned by charitable organisations, local authorities and government departments. She is currently working on a large EU-funded, Framework 7 project, on Researching Early School Leaving (with D’Angelo). Her most recent book is Migrant Capital: Networks, Identities and Strategies (editors Louise Ryan, Umut Erel and Alessio D'Angelo) Palgrave, 2015.
"Periodic reflection on where we are and where we might be heading is useful. Linda Mckie and Louise Ryan’s book treats this as an urgent task for sociological researchers, mindful too of the past… There is much here to hearten sociologists anxious about the discipline’s prospects"
Graham Crow, University of Edinburgh, Network