Researching Social Problems  book cover
1st Edition

Researching Social Problems

ISBN 9781138091740
Published June 28, 2019 by Routledge
230 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book covers a wide range of contemporary methods for researching social problems and connects these approaches to the broader substance and theories of social problems. Expository and discursive in approach, chapters follow a uniform structure, with each offering research examples and a broad description of the related method and its theoretical context, together with a "how-to" guide for applying that method using substantive examples from the field of social problems. For every method explored, there is a research example that fully reviews and illustrates the application of the particular method, before giving a full assessment of the method’s strengths and weaknesses and latest developments. With chapters exploring survey interviews, in-depth interviews, narrative inquiry, institutional ethnography, participatory action research, auto-ethnography, Actor-Network Theory, experimental research, visual research methods, and research ethics, Researching Social Problems will appeal to scholars and students of sociology and politics working in the fields of research methods and social problems.

Table of Contents

Foreword: The Splendid Dangers and Worthy Methods of the Social Pathologist

Gary Alan Fine


Amir Marvasti and A. Javier Treviño

1. Survey Research: Asking Questions for Assessing Social Problems

Karen G. Weiss

2. Research Interviews: Measuring, Feeling, and Constructing Social Problems

Amir Marvasti

3. Narrative Inquiry: Stories and Storytellers of Social Problems

Amir Marvasti, Lara Foley, and Aubrey DeLammermore

4. Institutional Ethnography: A Mode of Inquiry and a Strategy for Change

Marjorie L. DeVault

5. Participatory Action Research: Re-imagining the Study and Transformation of Social Problems

Kristin P. Goessling

6. Autoethnography as a Methodology in Researching Social Problems

Carol Rambo, Brittany Presson, Victoria Gaines, and Brandi Barnes

7. Considering Materiality: The Utility of Actor-Network Theory to Study Social Problems

Shannon K. Carter and Beatriz M. Reyes-Foster

8. Systematic Experimentation on Social Problems

Michael J. Lovaglia, Shane D. Soboroff, Christopher P. Kelley, and Jeffrey W. Lucas

9. Visual Research Methods: Integrating Images in the Study of Social Problems

Patricia Snell Herzog

10. The Ethics of the Study of Social Problems

Mark Israel and Farida Fozdar

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Amir Marvasti is Associate Professor of Sociology at Penn State Altoona, USA. His books on the pedagogy of research include: Qualitative Research in Sociology; Doing Qualitative Research: A Comprehensive Guide (with David Silverman); and The Sage Handbook of Interview Research: The Complexity of the Craft (2nd edition, with Jaber F. Gubrium, James Holstein, and Karyn D. McKinney).

A. Javier Treviño is Professor of Sociology at Wheaton College, Massachusetts, USA. He has served as president of the Society for the Study of Social Problems and has published numerous books including, Investigating Social Problems (2nd edition); The Cambridge Handbook of Social Problems (2 volumes); and Service Sociology and Academic Engagement in Social Problems.


 "The significance of Researching Social Problems stems from the focus on methods for studying the complex "whats" and "hows" of everyday troubles in relation to social problems. Narrative, context, image, and transformation are among the analytic concepts deftly addressed in this impressive compilation." — Jaber F. Gubrium, University of Missouri, USA

"Researching Social Problems is an important and original contribution outlining an essential set of "tools for the purpose of producing knowledge," specifically and uniquely regarding social problems. The book is unmatched in the field of social problems research." — James A. Holstein, Marquette University, USA

"This is a stunningly useful resource for anyone teaching or using social research methods. The book’s carefully curated chapters are smart and lucid about contemporary research strategies and issues." — Lois Presser, University of Tennessee, USA