A Handbook for Social Science Field Research: Essays & Bibliographic Sources on Research Design and Methods
Publication Year: 2006
A Handbook for Social Science Field Research provides both novice and experienced researcher with valuable insights into a key list of critical texts pertaining to a wide array of social science methods useful when doing fieldwork. Through essays on everything from ethnography to case study, archival research, oral history, surveys, secondary data analysis and ethics, this refreshing new collection offers `tales from the field' by renowned scholars across various disciplines.
- Front Matter
- Back Matter
- Subject Index
- PART I: Selecting the Right Tools
- Archives: The Past Is Another Country
- Case Studies: Case-Based Research
- Ethnographic Methods: Ethnography: Theory and Methods
- Oral Histories: Oral Histories as Methods and Sources
- Focus Groups: Focus Group Interviews
- Surveys and Secondary Data Sources: Using Survey Data in Social Science Research in Developing Countries
- Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Tools: Qualitative Research: Does It Fit in Economics?
- PART II: Essentials for the Conduct of Research
- Essentials for Ethnography: Ethnographic Methods
- Essentials for the Case Study Method: The Case Study and Causal Inference
- Essentials for Research Design: In Search of the Holy Grail: Projects, Proposals, and Research Design, but Mostly About Why Writing a Dissertation Proposal Is So Difficult
- Research Ethics are Essential: Ethical Considerations for Research in Cross-Cultural Settings
- Maintaining Perspective Is Essential: Bringing It All Back Home: Personal Reflections on Friends, Findings, and Fieldwork
Copyright © 2006 by SAGE Publications, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
A handbook for social science field research: Essays & bibliographic sources on research design and methods / edited by Ellen Perecman and Sara R. Curran.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 1-4129-1680-1 (cloth)
ISBN 1-4129-1681-X (pbk.)
1. Social sciences—Field work. 2. Social sciences—Research. 3. Social sciences—Methodology. I. Perecman, Ellen. II. Curran, Sara R.
This book is printed on acid-free paper.
06 07 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Acquiring Editor: Lisa Cuevas Shaw
Editorial Assistant: Karen Gia Wong
Production Editors: Diana E. Axelsen and Denise Santoyo
Copy Editor: Bonnie Freeman
Typesetter: C&M Digitals (P) Ltd.
Indexer: Kathy Paparchontis
Cover Designer: Edgar Abarca
To the beautiful memory of my beautiful mother, Rivke Wexler Perecman, whose resilience continues to inspire me and whose life and love continue to give me strength.
To Noah and Claire ∼ for being my muses and teaching me how to teach!
We would like to express our gratitude to the people who provided the foundation stones for the bibliographical content in this volume: Brad Barham, Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin Madison; William Beeman, Anthropology, Brown University; David William Cohen, History/Anthropology, University of Michigan; David Collier, Political Science, UC Berkeley; Albert Fishlow, International and Public Affairs, Columbia University; Barbara Geddes, Political Science, University of California, Los Angeles; Bryna Goodman, History, University of Oregon; Emily Hannum, Sociology, University of Pennsylvania; Janet Hart, Political Science, University of Michigan; Gail Henderson, Sociology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine; Dennis Hogan, Demography, Brown University; John Knodel, Sociology, University of Michigan; Larissa Adler Lomnitz, Anthropology, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico; Andrew Orta, Anthropology, University of Illinois; Alberto Palloni, Demography, University of Wisconsin; Joseph Potter, Demography, University of Texas; Lakshmi K. Raut, Economics, University of Hawaii; Michele Shedlin, Sociomedical Sciences, Sociomedical Resource Associates; Thomas Spear, History, University of Wisconsin; and Luise White, History, University of Florida.
Among the contributors to this volume, Alma Gottlieb, Steve Harrell, Albert Park, Andrew Schrank, Bob Vitalis, and Michael Watts also provided foundational material for the bibliographies. We are grateful to them for that as well as for helping us shape the final bibliographies and bring them up to date. But none of that could have been accomplished without the invaluable assistance of Elizabeth Armstrong, Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University; Maria Patricia Fernandez-Kelly, Sociology, Princeton University; Tamara Giles-Vernick, History, University of Minnesota; Carolyn Rouse, Anthropology, Princeton University; Mario Small, Sociology, Princeton University; and Ashley Timmer, formerly with the Social Science Research Council (SSRC).
Special thanks to David Featherman, former president of the SSRC, for suggesting to Ellen Perecman long ago that it would be useful to begin compiling a bibliography of research methods for International Predissertation [Page x]Fellows; to Sheila Biddle for coming up with the idea for the International Predissertation Fellowship Program in the first place; to former program assistants at SSRC Lisa Angus, Sara Defeo, Alexa Dietrich, and Asia Sherman and former SSRC program coordinator Leila Kazemi; to Melanie Adams and Sarah Martin at Princeton University for assisting with the editing, organization, and production of the endless iterations of this manuscript; and to the Ford Foundation.
Extra special thank-yous are in order for Adam Perecman Frankel, Steve Harrell, Andrew Schrank, Tom Spear, and Michael Watts for going beyond the call of duty on more than one occasion and to Lisa Cuevas Shaw at Sage for sharing our faith in this project.
Finally, thank you to the hundreds of IPFP fellows whose experiences made us realize just how badly a book like this was needed. We hope it meets with your approval.
About the Authors
Every human successfully negotiates daily life as an unwitting but naive behavioral scientist. Only with the benefit of dozens of at least tacit models of mind (e.g., self-expression, intentions, emotions, decision strategies), real and imagined social relationships (e.g., cooperation, conflict, negotiation), and how they are combined into complex institutions like families, firms, neighborhoods, and nations are we capable of creating order out of complexityif not chaoseach day. What separates this naive but necessary and pragmatic representation of mind, selves, and society from the enterprise called analytical social science are forms of mental discipline that is, analytical observation, thinking, and evidence-based reasoning about social experience. That discipline is just as pragmatic as the naive social science that allows us to navigate our way through life each day, testing our tacit models of what we expect to happen against what does happen by assessing our misjudgments and mistakes. So analytical social science and naive social science are equally pragmaticthat is, drawn from the real world and reformulated as experience requires, so as to make our lives livable and comprehensible among kith and kin, insofar as we are able.
But the mental discipline of analytical social science that raises its enterprise above the naive is not easy work. And it requires tools to assist analytical observation, thinking, and reasoning. It requires still other tools to extract observationsthe data of social sciencefrom ongoing thoughts, social relationships, and institutional practices, for example. After all, the conduct of social science is nearly always embedded within the everyday realities of social relationships and personal mental life, the tacit stuff that can “bias” what we as social scientists see and interpret as empirical reality. Thus, truly analytical social science demands still other tools to organize and interpret these observations, these data, in ways that become credible and useful well beyond what is tacitly useful from our naive models of social realities. And finally, the burdens of being a social scientist require more than the rigorous discipline of analytical observing and reasoning; there are special ethical burdens as well. Scientists who conduct their research in others’ homes or communities or who seek their life stories as data have [Page xviii]obligations to protect confidentiality and anonymity. In addition, the standards for truthfulness and authenticity owed to one's fellow scientists impose a high bar for research integrity. So being a social scientist is not for the faint of heart or the social gadfly.
A Handbook for Social Science Field Research provides a tool kit that will equip advanced undergraduates and graduate students, even early career social scientists with narrow disciplinary training, for ever more sophisticated, analytical, self-conscious, and ethical social science. What is so unusual about this collection of essays and bibliographiesthis tool kit of best practicesis what it explicitly takes for granted as the fundamental task of doing analytical social science and therefore what practices are essential.
One foundational assumption is that the empirical or phenomenal social world is complex. However, every tool we would use to analyze that complexityliterally to take it apart and examine interrelationships, whether observations, interviews, or archived documents, for examplehas its limitations. And therefore the very complexity of what we seek to understand requires multiple methods or analytical tools, one to supplement the other's strengths and compensate for its shortcomings. For too long, social scientists were trained within deep methodological wells, as for example anthropologists within the ethnographic traditions of participant observation or sociologists within survey research questionnaires and samples of populations. What they each saw was the sky from the bottom of their respective wells and rarely, if ever, the horizon's scope. To the credit of A Handbook for Social Science Field Research, the association of a preferred methodology with a discipline is severed, and all who would do social science are urged to find and use various methods that add to their grasp of complexityto their scope or field of visionand to the sense they can make of it.
A second assumption is that social complexity consists, at least in part, of local differences in customs, tacit cultural assumptions, and institutions that nonetheless may manifest some greater or lesser similarity from place to place. This assumption underlies the whole rationale for fieldwork, that is, taking social science questions or hypothetical propositions constructed about one societal or cultural setting into another. Are the answers the same? Do the propositions hold with equal force? And just as important, how would I know? The classical rationale for fieldwork was to elicit a systematic understanding of the lived world of some “foreign” people or place as a taken-for-granted reality that was differentat least in some waysfrom one's home base as a reference point. Of course, fieldwork in contemporary terms begins by recognizing that self and other can (and must) be distinguished only with great analytical care, as noted in this book. And doing fieldwork in the 21st century does not require literally going abroad, especially in heterogeneous, pluralistic societies with Internet connectivity, in order to analyze or construct patterns of similarity and difference in [Page xix]human behavior and institutions. In fact, while this book was intended primarily as preparation for those going abroad to do social science, it serves equally well those who seek to capture and characterize diversity and global connectivity within their own societal context.
A third assumption is that the present is but a point in time and that history, like place, is part of social complexitypart of the dynamic of social complexity in the here and now. This is not the same as saying that the present is merely the realization of the past and that therefore one can deeply comprehend the present only by beginning at the beginning, as a historian in the archives. But a strong case is made that those who would capture social life as it is unfolding, for example in differential equations capturing time-sensitive rates of change or adaptation (such as the diffusion of HIV/AIDS among rural married women in South Africa) might also want to plumb the archives for information about four decades of apartheid to put the contemporary coefficients into context. This ideaand the wise guidance of this bookcorrects another regrettable distinction or false methodological division within the human sciencesthe distinction between qualitative and quantitative analysis. While the historian and the epidemiologist or demographer may tend to begin with different methodsthe former qualitative and the latter quantitativeboth use their tools analytically against standards of evidence, argument, and logic, as social scientists. Again, A Handbook for Social Science Field Research would have the social scientistwhether economist or historian, demographer or anthropologistreach across the quantitative-versus-qualitative divide for quantitative and qualitative methods that in their complementarity help find order in the complexity.
Which brings me finally to the history of the International Predissertation Fellowship Program at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) during the course of my presidency in the 1990s. This book grows out of that program, as noted by its coeditors Ellen Perecman and Sara Curran. The Program was the brainchild of at least two colleagues at the Ford Foundation, Sheila Biddle and Peter Stanley. Sheila and Peter sought the advice of the SSRC and its collaborator, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS), as well as the guidance of many university-based scholars around the country as to how best to prepare a new generation of social scientists and humanists seeking to study the world outside the United States. Foreign area studies, as it was called just after World War II, was created as a means of ensuring a solid base of ongoing advanced study and also of wider cultural sophistication in a nation too often ignorant of the world beyond its shores. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Ford Foundation, the chief nongovernmental supporter of such scholarship and education, sought new ways to infuse more social science capacity and methodological diversity into these fields more often dominated by humanistic and linguistic approaches. So the collaboration [Page xx]between the SSRC (mostly social science) and the ACLS (mostly the humanities) seemed a natural one for the Foundation to explore as a means of cross-fertilizing ways to globalize the local (the wont of social science) and localize the global (the wont of the humanities). The IPFP was a means to that cross-fertilization. The Program recruited social scientists (mainly from the core social science disciplines) and provided preparations (linguistic and other) for dissertation work in the field, that is, outside the United States. Later, the Program recruited as well from graduate students already predisposed to research abroad, sometimes with a comparative idea in mind, and with formal preparation for work in one regional setting but needing preparation for comparative work in a second.
It is important at this point to emphasize that neither the IPFP nor the multi-method case made by this book implies that a single social scientist should master all methods so as to be equipped for all circumstances. In fact, while the various authors of the reflective chapters of this book have shared the personal, intellectual benefits of using multiple approaches, that practice is both difficult and very demanding to command at a high level of expertise. It takes nothing from the conviction of these narratives or from the book's foundational and correct message to students to note a different but complementary approach: namely, collaboration among those whose methodological expertise is complementary. In fact, much of contemporary social science stems from collaborations rather than from scholars working alone. Indeed, one of the legacies of the IPFP is sets of awardees, now former fellows, who discovered each other as research partners and now collaborate, combining their respective methodological as well as substantive strengths.
Thus, A Handbook for Social Science Field Research reflects only a part, but a wonderfully illustrative one, of the great human productivity of the Ford Foundation's investment, of the two councils’ stewardship of their commission under the IPFP grant from Ford, of the many distinguished faculty mentors who guided the Program and its awardees during their projects, and of course of the Program's staff. David Szanton, then at the SSRC, worked closely with Biddle and Stanley at Ford and the Councils’ two presidents in shaping the original program objectives. But it was Ellen Perecman, over a dozen years, who provided senior staff leadership, liaised with Sheila Biddle and the faculty advisors, and assisted with student recruitment; she made the program work and adapted it to its changing context and student needs. This book, a tribute to the Program, is also a tribute to Ellen and to the shared vision she and Sara Curran possessed to make it a reality. As former president of the SSRC, I am both pleased and proud of their collective achievement on behalf of a new generation of social scientists.David L. FeathermanUniversity of Michigan
At the beginning of our own research careers, one over a quarter of a century ago and the other ten years ago, each of us had the good fortune to work as part of a team with researchers more seasoned than we who showed us how to apply what we had learned as graduate students to our experiences in “the field.” For one of us (SC), “the field” was Thailand. For the other (EP), it was the human brain, a “field” in only a nontraditional sense of the term. Despite the fact that our backgrounds as researchers could not be more different, there is a memory we share: the anguished moment when we realized that our best-laid research plans had failed miserably in the real world.
Fortunately for both of us, our senior colleagues were always there to cushion the fall. They reminded us that we were not failures; they pointed us to books and articles that provided us with the knowledge we needed to understand why our research plans had failed. They were there to assure us that the most important lesson we could learn about conducting research in “the field” was to be flexible, to be ready to shift gears at any moment, and that we were not expected to have all the answers.
Fast-forward to 1999. One of us (SC) was now a member of the faculty at Princeton University, the other (EP) a program director at the Social Science Research Council (SSRC). By now each of us independently had learned the three cardinal tenets of field research:
- Every research question regardless of field or discipline is uniquely defined by a specific set of circumstances.
- There can be no attempt to answer a question without deep knowledge of the specific contextual parameters defining those circumstances.
- Such deep knowledge comes only to those who have paid their dues.
Our paths converged in the context of a fellowship program administered by the SSRC and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS): the International Predissertation Fellowship Program (IPFP). Developed and [Page xxii]administered from 1990 to 2002 by Ellen Perecman, with the intellectual support of ACLS's Stephen Wheatley and with funding from the Ford Foundation, the IPFP was designed to compensate for the frequent failure of graduate training programs in the social sciences to devote sufficient attention to the full range of methods available for research, to counteract the tendency for social science disciplines to rely on some methods to the exclusion of others, and to ameliorate a situation in which students of the individual disciplines are rarely taught field research methods or sufficiently briefed on a host of practical issues concerning the conduct of field research.
The hallmark of the IPFP was the annual training conference and regional workshop series designed to bring young researchers together with seasoned ones to explore issues of research design from a cross-disciplinary and cross-regional perspective. Those conferences and workshops became the impetus for this volume, as year in and year out we watched how, through the interaction between more and less experienced students and between students and faculty, students’ research design skills were sharpened, their thinking about how to conduct social science research was broadened, and they became more self-conscious about the implications of each and every choice they would make in their research. Students were encouraged to retain for future use a specially prepared bibliography of materials addressing or illustrating methods, tools, and practices of social science field research, which was updated annually. Over the life of the IPFP and through the largesse of conference faculty, the bibliography grew.
As each of us watched students and faculty learn from each other how best to take advantage of the research practices of different disciplinary traditions, as we watched them engage with one another with absolute intellectual abandon, we learned what young researchers wanted to know and what they needed to know. We learned how importantand comforting it is for them to rediscover that university professors were also once clueless graduate students. We were reminded, on the one hand, how generous and humble seasoned researchers can be when asked to reflect on the lessons they have learned in the course of earning their stripes and, on the other hand, how grateful young researchers are for the opportunity to benefit from their seniors’ mistakes. It became clear to us that there was a long-standing and growing demand in the social sciences for innovative approaches to international field research on the pressing questions of our day that reflect a convergence of methods and concepts from across the disciplines and that are based as much on science as on common sense.
Students were disarmed by the accessibility and honesty of conference and workshop faculty, by the idiosyncrasy of many of the messages, and by the irreverence with which those messages were often conveyed: Irreverence [Page xxiii]toward the academy; irreverence toward the hierarchy within the academy; and irreverence toward “the rules of the game.”
As students wrestled intellectually with faculty over beers in hotel bars and faculty shared their most embarrassing moments in the field between laps in the pool, we decided it was our duty to try to bottle this experience to the extent possiblecomplete with its intimate feel and its irreverent attitudeso that its benefits might be shared by future generations of students as well. A Handbook for Social Science Field Research is our attempt to do that.
Each of the two parts in the book has two principal components: contemplative essays on the conduct of social science research are followed by bibliographies containing a unique and substantial collection of references bearing on issues in and around that essay. Essays by leading social scientists in an array of disciplines address research design, specific research methods, the value of combining methods and tools to strengthen research design, and research ethics. The essays speak to methodological issues authors feel were neglected in their own graduate careers and should be included in the training protocols of graduate students and junior researchers today. They offer perspectives on the value of a given research method from scholars within and outside the discipline most strongly associated with the method perspectives readers are unlikely to have gotten in their graduate training programs.
Throughout the essays in this volume, we have worked to maintain the sense of irreverence and commitment to honesty that pervaded the IPFP conferences. An important ethical message shines through for readers about the essential requirement that research be conducted with as much transparency as possible. Throughout these essays, authors hammer home the importance, whether in the reading of texts or during an interview, of publicly acknowledging skepticism, double-checking, triangulating, reflecting on how one's own emotions might be affecting interpretations, or revisiting questions and earlier answers. The authors make the case for demystifying the fieldwork experience and advancing fieldwork methods for the next generation of scholars by revealing the thoughts, emotions, decisions, and reactions they experienced in the course of their fieldwork.
The book begins in Part I with essays and tools for their purpose that take readers through the process of choosing the most effective research tools: archives (Robert Vitalis); the case study method (Andrew Schrank); ethnographic approaches (Alma Gottlieb); oral histories (Tamara Giles-Vernick); focus groups (Susan Short); surveys and secondary data sources (Albert Park); and combining qualitative and quantitative tools (Michael Piore). Part II includes reflections on essential background reading for fieldwork by Stevan[Page xxiv]
Harrell and Andrew Schrank and discussions of the process of designing a research project (Michael Watts), carrying it out ethically (Sara Curran), and reworking it when the realities of the field confront the blueprint for the project (Andrew Schrank).
Insofar as the essays here provide multiple perspectives, they show how a wide range of methods, tools, and practices can enhance research by broadening the approachand the set of skillsbrought to it. Alma Gottlieb uses the playful image of a seesaw as a metaphor for the relationship between quantitative and qualitative research methods: “As if attached by a fulcrum, they form part of a single dynamic system, but at any given moment they produce two different, indeed sometimes incommensurable forms of knowledge.” Authors identify advantagesand pitfallsof using a particular tool or method and provide criteria for deciding whether that tool or method is the optimal one for answering a given set of research questions.
Our contributing authors work within disciplines, but they do not pretend to speak for or represent those disciplines. When they speak, they speak from the heart with a candor that is wonderfully refreshing in a literature of carefully chosen words and politically correct positions. In the authentic voices of some of the most experienced and well-respected American social science researchers engaged in international research today, these essays reflect lessons learnedand wisdom gainedfrom years of conducting social science research. Michael Watts tells us with brutal honesty that “graduate training can sometimes appear like permanent crisis management.” Michael Piore reveals that he “stumbled into” his research approach and then “continued doing it because it was interesting and fun and seemed to yield insights into problems I considered it important, socially and morally, to solve. Miraculously, what I was doing attracted enough interest and attention that I got tenure anyway, despite my research approach.” Albert Park admits that “one of my goals [in the essay] is to provide advice I wish I had been given at an earlier stage in my career.” Bob Vitalis boasts that “I still have an incomplete in multivariate statistics on the books … and so you won't find me writing models.”
One is caught off guard when Andrew Schrank tells us that he gets insights from “the acknowledgments, prefaces, introductions, and appendices to my favorite books … [into] how they were written… . To whom did the author talk? When? Why? At whose prompting? With what results?” Or when Alma Gottlieb writes that “as you collect data, your understanding of the local situation should keep changing, and attending to your own changing understandings may well suggest reorienting your original focus” and that “it is important to think about how your own emotional biography may shape your research agenda.”[Page xxv]
And one is completely disarmed by Steve Harrell's statement: “I suspect that the number of pints drained in this exercise [of comparing your own ethnographic experiences to those of others] has not diminished as the amount of ink spilt has increased.” Or by Michael Watts's advice on writing a proposal: “To stand a chance, your proposal must not simply be solid; it must jump out of the pile… . There are several ways in which a proposal can achieve this distinctiveness. One is to have three typos in the first line.” Or by Michael Piore's view that “In interpreting interviews, I do not think sufficient attention is ever given to the possibility that the world is really chaotic.”
Although the book does not cover all social science disciplines or all issues concerning field methods in the social sciences, the slices we have chosen to cover are those we and our authors consider most relevant. We decided that the issue of ethics and fieldwork deserved a stand-alone essay even though the topic is addressed throughout the book. For, as Alma Gottlieb reminds us so poignantly: “Ethical issues pervade every decision, great and small, that one makes…. Should you put your own position at risk and help your long-time informant when he finds himself on the wrong side of the law?… Is it better to expend a large proportion of your scarce research funds trying to save the life of a gravely sick infant … or to save the funds for others with a greater likelihood of recovery?” And as Tamara Giles-Vernick points out, deciding what to write about can present an ethical problem since it is sometimes necessary to “distinguish carefully … between writing about sensitive or confidential concerns and divulging these concerns.”
Sara Curran's essay takes an in-depth look at how our usual forays into the field frequently begin with a nod toward the regulated aspects of ethical concerns via our applications to institutional review boards (IRBs). But a researcher soon realizes that ethical concerns reach well beyond the regulations precisely because successful fieldwork necessarily involves social relationships that are imbued with differential power and potential conflicts of interest. Negotiating these relationships ensures access to the field and “data” but can also be fraught with ethical compromises.
The book contains a number of invaluable bibliographies: Archives, Case Studies, Ethnography, Oral History, Focus Groups, Surveys and Secondary Data Sources, Study Design and Quantitative Methods, and Research Ethics and Other Essential Reading. Within the individual bibliographies, subsections often address specific areas of focus. These carefully constructed bibliographies constitute a rich source of materialsboth in print and on the Webthat address or illustrate a range of quantitative and qualitative research methods, tools, and practices and that have relevance for a wide [Page xxvi]range of quantitative and qualitative research methods and tools. All are publications and websites that we consider important as one prepares to do fieldwork in the developing world for the first timeor for the fiftieth time.
Each of the bibliographies represents a collaboration between the editors of this volume and their consultants, on the one hand, and the original architects of the lists of reference materials that served as the foundation for these bibliographiessome of whom are essay authorson the other. The bibliographies also include a section on the ethics of field research, a topic rarely given the attention it deserves. The bibliographies are organized topically; subheadings have been created to highlight the different kinds of materials available within each category of methods or tools (e.g., archives, case studies), as well as to make it easy for readers to find the references they will find most useful. While the bibliographies are intended to reflect a sampling of key references in each area, the citations that appear at the end of individual essays under the heading Supplemental References will provide a richer exposure to a field.
This book, like the conferences and workshops that inspired it, is intended to help new researchers understand how to choose the research methods, tools, and practices that will best address the questions they are trying to answerregardless of whether the choices meet departmental regulations for Ph.D. theses. And like those gatherings, its aim is to provide an opportunity for researchers to step back and reflect on the strengths and limitations of their disciplines and to broaden the scope of their thinking about the methodological options available to them as social scientists. It invites them to consider ways in which research methods and perspectives from across the social science disciplines might advance their research goals. In short, its aim is to reinvent what it means to do good research and what it means to be prepared for it.Ellen Perecman and Sara R. Curran