The SAGE Handbook of Innovation in Social Research Methods


Edited by: Malcolm Williams & W. Paul Vogt

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    We thank Chris Rojek for the original idea for this volume and the excellent dinners he bought us. Thanks too to Jai Seaman at SAGE for her advice and patience throughout the project. We began asking colleagues throughout the world to say what they thought was currently innovatory in social research methods and we would like to thank them for their helpful and imaginative ideas.

    List of Contributors

    Claire Alexander is Reader in Sociology at the London School of Economics. Her research interests are in the area of race, ethnicity, masculinity and youth identities, particularly in relation to ethnography. Her main publications include The Art of Being Black (OUP, 1996) and The Asian Gang (Berg, 2000). She is co-editor of Beyond Difference (Ethnic and Racial Studies, July 2002), and Making Race Matter: Bodies, Space and Identity (Palgrave, 2005) and editor of Writing Race: Ethnography and Difference (Ethnic and Racial Studies, May 2006). She is co-director, with Dr Joya Chatterji, of an AHRC-funded research project (2006–2009) on ‘The Bengal Diaspora: Bengali Settlers in South Asia and Britain’.

    Ariel M. Aloe is Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education, University at Buffalo – SUNY. He specializes in research synthesis, quantitative methods and teacher quality.

    Paul J. Baker is Emeritus Distinguished University Professor at Illinois State University. He is trained in the field of sociology and has spent the past 25 years teaching aspiring administrators to think about the organizational complexities of schools. His special research interest is local responses to the continuous mandates for improvement from state and federal agencies. He has published numerous articles in various professional journals – American Journal of Sociology, The Sociological Quarterly, American Sociologist, Research in Higher Education, Educational Leadership, Planning and Changing, Change Magazine and Journal of Education for Students at Risk.

    Betsy Jane Becker is Mode L. Stone Distinguished Professor of Educational Statistics and coordinator of the program in Measurement and Statistics in the College of Education at Florida State University, where she has been on faculty since Fall 2004. Becker's current research is funded by the National Science Foundation. Her methodological work involves the study of methods for synthesizing correlation matrices and regression slopes. She is also conducting syntheses of studies of teacher knowledge and teacher qualifications. Becker is past president of the Society for Research Synthesis Methodology, and a Fellow of the American Statistical Association.

    Ivano Bison is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Trento (Italy). He was Visiting Professor at the Department of Sociology, Madison, Wisconsin (2004) and at the Department of Sociology, University of Emory, Atlanta, Georgia (2006). His research interests include social stratification, life courses intergenerational disparities, inter- and intra-generational career mobility, educational inequalities, transition from school to work, poverty and gender disparities. He is currently teaching graduate and doctoral level courses in categorical data analysis and methodology and survey design at the University of Trento.

    Antony Bryant is currently Professor of Informatics at Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, UK. His initial studies and his PhD were in the social and political sciences. He later completed a Masters in Computing, followed by a period working as a Systems Analyst and Project Leader for a commercial software developer. He has written extensively on research methods, being Senior Editor of The SAGE Handbook of Grounded Theory (Sage, 2007) – co-edited with Kathy Charmaz with whom he has worked extensively within the area of Grounded Theory and research methods in general. He has developed and taught a wide range of post-graduate courses in South Africa, Malaysia and China. He is currently ASEM Professor at the University of Malaya and Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam. His current research includes investigation of the ways in which the Open Source model might be developed as a feature of the re-constructed financial sector in the wake of the economic meltdown.

    David Byrne is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at Durham University. Previously he has worked as both an academic and in community development. His books include Complexity Theory and the Social Sciences (1998) and Interpreting Quantitative Data (2002). His major empirical research interest is in the consequences of deindustrialization for places and people and in the nature of social exclusion on a global basis. He is also keenly interested in the development of methodological perspectives and methods as tools which can be used in the application of social science to real social problems and sees case-based methods as having enormous potential in this context.

    James Carpenter is a Reader in Medical and Social Statistics at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (University of London). His methodological research interests include statistical methods for the analysis of partially observed data, multilevel modeling, meta-analysis and bootstrap methods.

    Kathy Charmaz is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Faculty Writing Program at Sonoma State University in which she helps faculty with their scholarly writing. She has written, co-authored or co-edited eight books includingDeveloping Grounded Theory: The Second Generation, The Handbook of Grounded Theory (with Antony Bryant) and Health, Illness, and Healing: Society, Social Context and Self, as well as two award-winning books, Constructing Grounded Theory: A Practical Guide Through Qualitative Analysis and Good Days, Bad Days: The Self in Chronic Illness and Time. She also publishes in the areas of social psychology and writing for publication.

    Kathleen M. T. Collins is an Associate Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. To date, she has published more than 60 research articles, book chapters and encyclopedia chapters and presented more than 70 research papers at international, national and regional conferences. In addition, she has made several invited addresses to faculty and students on the topic of mixed research. Dr Collins' interests are in research methodological issues as they pertain to mixed research, special populations and the identification and assessment of literacy problems of post-secondary students.

    Wendy Dyer is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at Northumbria University. Her research interests are in the area of innovative approaches to the exploration of large and complex datasets, and mental health and crime. Her main publications include Single-Case Probabilities (co-authored with Malcolm Williams, in D. Byrne and C. Ragin (eds), The Sage Handbook of Case Based Methods. Sage, 2009) and The Psychiatric and Criminal Careers of Mentally Disordered Offenders Referred to a Custody Diversion Team in the United Kingdom (International Journal of Forensic Mental Health, 2006, Vol. 5(1), pp. 15–28). She has coordinated the Prison and Offender Research in Social Care and Health (PORSCH) North East network since its inception in 2005 and has been awarded funding for various projects exploring the health and social care of offenders.

    Rosalind Edwards is Professor in Social Policy and Director of the Families and Social Capital Research Group at London South Bank University. Her main research interests are family lives and family policy, and she is currently working on a qualitative longitudinal archiving study of children's sibling and friend relationships as part of the Timescapes consortium, and a comparative feasibility study exploring qualitative secondary analysis of family and parenting across sources and timeframes. Recent publications include: Sibling Identity and Relationships: Sisters and Brothers (with L. Hadfield, H. Lucey and M. Mauthner, Routledge, 2006), Assessing Social Capital: Concept, Policy and Practice (edited with J. Franklin and J. Holland, Cambridge Scholars Press, 2007) and Researching Families and Communities: Social and Generational Change (ed., Routledge, 2008). She is founder and co-editor of the International Journal of Social Research Methodology (with J. Brannen).

    Susan E. Embretson is Professor of Psychology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her interests span psychometric methods, item response theory, cognition and intelligence and quantitative methods. Her main research program is integrating cognitive theory into psychometric models and test design, which has led to the possibility of automatic item generation. She has served as President of the Psychometric Society, the Society for Multivariate Experimental Psychology and Division 5 in the American Psychological Association (APA). She received the 1997 Outstanding Technical Contribution Award from the National Council on Educational Measurement and the 2001 Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award from Division 5 in APA for her research.

    Roberto P. Franzosi is Professor of Sociology and Linguistics at Emory University. Franzosi's main interests have been in the study of conflict and violence (Italian postwar strikes, rise of Italian fascism, lynching in American Jim Crow South). He has also had a long-standing interest in issues of language and measurement of meaning. He is the author of several articles and four books: The Puzzle of Strikes: Class and State Strategies in Postwar Italy (Cambridge University Press, 1994), From Words to Number: Narrative, Data, and Social Science (Cambridge University Press, 2005), Content Analysis (Sage, 2008), and Quantitative Narrative Analysis (Sage, 2010).

    Dianne C. Gardner is an Associate Professor of Educational Administration and Foundations at Illinois State University. Her scholarship foci include adult professional learning for instructional renewal in schools and assessment and evaluation in elementary, secondary and higher education. She is a former urban early childhood special education speech and language specialist and teacher educator at Alverno College in Milwaukee. She now teaches doctoral seminars on organizational leadership and received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in higher and adult education leadership.

    Giampietro Gobo is Associate Professor of Methodology of Social Research and Evaluation Methods, and Director of the centre ICONA (Innovation and Organizational Change in the Public Administration) at the University of Milan. He has published over 50 articles in the areas of qualitative and quantitative methods. His books include Doing Ethnography (Sage, 2008, under translation in Arabic), Qualitative Research Practice (Sage, 2004: co-edited with C. Seale, J.F. Gubrium and D. Silverman) and Collecting Survey Data. An Interviewee-Centred Approach, (Sage, 2010: with Sergio Mauceri). He is currently undertaking projects in the area of workplace studies (call centres, medic emergency dispatch centres, air traffic control rooms).

    Elizabeth Griffiths is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Emory University. She received her PhD in 2007 from the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. Her current research focuses on spatiotemporal variations in urban homicide, diffusion processes, the role of social disorganization and routine activities theories in explaining crime, homicide in public housing, and the relationship between household structure and victimization risk. Her research has been published in journals such as Criminology, The Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency and Social Problems.

    Lynne Haeffele is a former high school teacher and state education agency administrator. She is now a senior researcher in the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University. Her research projects and published works include studies of teacher distribution, high-poverty/high-performing schools, college readiness, college student transfer and school/university partnerships. Her contractual work includes studies of state education governance, program evaluations, charter school development and peer review for the US Department of Education.

    Martyn Hammersley is Professor of Educational and Social Research at the Open University. He has carried out research in the sociology of education and the sociology of the media. Much of his work has been concerned with the methodological issues surrounding social enquiry. He has written several books including: Reading Ethnographic Research (Longman, 1991), What's Wrong with Ethnography? (Routledge, 1992), The Politics of Social Research (Sage, 1995), Taking Sides in Social Research (Routledge, 1999), Educational Research, Policymaking and Practice (Paul Chapman, 2002) and Questioning Qualitative Inquiry (Sage, 2008).

    Douglas D. Heckathorn is Professor of Sociology at Cornell University. He arrived at Cornell in 1999, after nine years of service as Professor of Sociology and Economics at the University of Connecticut. Dr Heckathorn received his PhD in Sociology from the University of Kansas (1974). He is the editor of Rationality and Society. Dr Heckathorn's intellectual interests lie in formal sociological theory, policy analysis, social psychology and quantitative methods, which he applies to an eclectic set of substantive foci including AIDS prevention research, collective action and jazz. His solo- and co-authored articles on these topics have recently appeared in Poetics, Sociological Focus, Social Problems, American Sociologist, American Sociological Review, and Rationality and Society. He is currently working on several interrelated projects. The first analyzes collective action and norm emergence using formal theories to specify the reciprocal relationship between choice and structure. A recent extension of that project analyzes aggregate social exchange across macrosocial categories, including race and ethnicity, gender, age and economic status, to analyze quantitatively both social structure and the power differentials encoded in those structures. He also continues collaborating with Robert Broadhead on HIV prevention research targeting active drug injectors. Finally, a methodological project uses a form of incentive-driven chain-referral sampling in combination with simulation and analytic methods to draw statistically representative samples of hidden populations, such as jazz musicians, active drug injectors and the homeless.

    John H. Hitchcock's PhD was in Educational Psychology with a concentration in research methods (Albany State University of New York, 2003). He is an Assistant Professor in the Educational Studies Department in the College of Education at Ohio University. Dr Hitchcock's research focuses on the development and evaluation of interventions for special needs populations and culturally appropriate psychological assessment. In addition to working on the Sri Lankan research program described in this book, Dr Hitchcock is involved with several projects funded by the US Department of Education and the development of conceptual pieces dealing with advancements to mixed methods research design and program evaluation.

    Ian Rees Jones is Professor of Sociology at Bangor University. He has published extensively in the field of medical sociology addressing health inequalities, chronic illness and medical decision making. His research spans the historical sociology of health, medicine and welfare. His current research focus is on inequalities and social change and he leads an ESRC-funded project utilizing Multiple Correspondence Analysis to map changes in social space and lifestyles since the 1970s using the British Regional Heart Study. Recent books include Consumption and Generational Change, The Rise of Consumer Lifestyles (Transaction Publishers, 2009) and Ageing in a Consumer Society: From Passive to Active Consumption in Britain (Policy Press, 2008). He is also co-author with Paul Higgs of Medical Sociology and Old Age: Towards a Sociology of Health in Later Life (Routledge, 2009).

    Rex B. Kline is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Concordia University in Montréal, Canada. Since earning his PhD in psychology, his areas of research and writing have included the psychometric evaluation of cognitive abilities, child clinical assessment, structural equation modeling, the preparation of students for conducting independent research and usability of engineering in computer science. He lives with his wife and two children in Alexandria, Canada.

    Nancy L. Leech is an Assistant Professor at the University of Colorado Denver. Dr Leech is currently teaching masters and PhD level courses in research, statistics and measurement. Her area of research is promoting new developments and better understandings in applied qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodologies. To date, she has published more than 35 articles in referred journals and two books: SPSS for Basic Statistics: Use and Interpretation and SPSS for Intermediate Statistics: Use and Interpretation, both published by Taylor and Francis. Dr Leech has made more than 30 presentations at regional, national and international conferences.

    Gayle Letherby is Professor of Sociology at the University of Plymouth. Gayle researches and writes in a variety of areas including reproductive and non/ parental identity; working and learning in higher education; crime and deviance and travel mobilities. She is also interested in all things methodological, particularly the politics of the research process and product. Publications focusing on methodological concerns include Feminist Research in Theory and Practice (Open University, 2003), Extending Social Research: Application, Implementation, Presentation (Open University, 2007, edited with P. Bywaters), ‘Have Backpack Will Travel: Auto/biography as a mobile methododology’ in B. Fincham, M. McGuinness and L. Murray Mobile Methodologies (Palgrave).

    Peter Martin is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys at City University, London, where he is part of the team that coordinates the European Social Survey. He holds a postgraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Bremen, Germany, an MSc in Social Research Methods and Statistics and a PhD in Sociology from City University. His interests include mixed methods research, survey methodology, sequence analysis, contemporary racial attitudes and theories of racism.

    Heather H. McIntyre has an MS in industrial-organizational psychology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is currently in the doctoral program for quantitative psychology at Georgia Institute of Technology. Her primary research interests centre on the modeling of cognitive response styles and strategies in personality testing via explanatory IRT as well as mixture and hybrid models. In particular, the conjoint use of item response and item response time data for these purposes is under investigation, as well as within-individual variation in response strategies during testing.

    Bonnie Kaul Nastasi (PhD School Psychology, Kent State University, 1986) is Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Tulane University. Dr Nastasi's research focuses on development and evaluation of culturally appropriate assessment and intervention approaches to promote mental health and reduce health risks such as STIs/HIV. She has worked in Sri Lanka since 1995 on the development of school-based programs to promote children's and adolescent's psychological well-being, and is currently directing a multi-country study, with partners in 10 countries, to examine psychological well-being of children and adolescents. She is President-elect for Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.

    Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie is Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Sam Houston State University. He teaches courses in qualitative, quantitative and mixed research. Dr Onwuegbuzie writes extensively on qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodological topics, having numerous articles and book/encyclopedia chapters published representing all three research paradigms/approaches. He has published more than 200 refereed journal articles and 30 book/encyclopedia chapters. He has made more than 450 presentations and keynote addresses at regional, national and international conferences. Dr Onwuegbuzie has received numerous outstanding paper awards. He serves as editor of Educational Researcher and co-editor of Research in the Schools.

    Geoff Payne (AcSS) is Emeritus Professor of Sociology, University of Plymouth, where he was for many years Dean of Social Sciences. A former President of the British Sociological Association, his research has been mainly in the fields of social stratification, particularly social mobility and sociological methods. Recent publications include Key Concepts in Social Research, 2nd edn (Sage, 2010), Teaching Quantitative Methods (Sage, 2010, with Malcolm Williams) and Social Divisions, 3rd edn (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011). He currently teaches research methods in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University.

    Keenan A. Pituch is an Associate Professor of quantitative methods in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Texas at Austin. Graduate courses he has taught include correlation and regression, univariate and multivariate analysis of variance, hierarchical linear modeling and structural equation modeling. His research interests include multilevel modeling, mediation analysis, growth curve modeling and evaluation methodology as applied to large-scale educational experiments. His scholarship has appeared in journals such as Educational Research and Evaluation, Journal of Experimental Education and Multivariate Behavioral Research. He earned his PhD in Research Design and Statistics from Florida State University in 1997.

    Ian Plewis joined the University of Manchester as Professor of Social Statistics in 2007 having previously worked at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, University of London since 1999 where he was Professor of Longitudinal Research Methods in Education and where he now holds a visiting professorship. His research interests are in the design and analysis of longitudinal studies, multilevel models and educational inequalities. He is a former editor of Series A of the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society (‘Statistics in Society’) and has published widely in both methodological and substantive journals.

    Charles C. Ragin holds a joint appointment as Professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of Arizona. For the past two decades his work has focused primarily on broad issues in methodology, especially the challenge of bringing some of the logic and spirit of small-N case-oriented research to the study of medium-sized and large Ns. His books include The Comparative Method (University of California Press, 1987), What Is a Case? (with Howard S. Becker; Cambridge University Press, 1992), Fuzzy-Set Social Science (University of Chicago Press, 2000), Configurational Comparative Methods (with Benoit Rihoux; Sage, 2008) and Redesigning Social Inquiry (University of Chicago Press, 2008).

    Donald B. Rubin, John L. Loeb Professor of Statistics, Department of Statistics, Harvard University, is an Elected Fellow/Member of the American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, International Statistical Institute, American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Honorary Member of the European Association of Methodology, and Corresponding (foreign) Fellow of the British Academy. He has authored/co-authored over 350 publications (including 10 books) and has made important contributions to statistical theory and methodology, particularly in causal inference, design and analysis of experiments and sample surveys, treatment of missing data and Bayesian data analysis. For many years he has been one of the mostly cited authors in mathematics in the world (ISI Science Watch). He has received many awards in statistics: the Samuel S. Wilks Medal, Parzen Prize for Statistical Innovation, the Fisher Lectureship, the George W. Snedecor Award, Mitchell Prize (twice), Statistician of the Year for both the Boston and Chicago Chapters of the ASA. He also has been Editor or Associate Editor of many statistical journals.

    Garrett Andrew Schneider is a PhD candidate in sociology at the University of Arizona. His interests include the sociology of punishment, political economy, social theory and the logic of case-oriented research. His recent research includes a study of the politics of mandatory minimum sentencing and the evolution of federal banking regulation in the US over the course of the twentieth century.

    Laura M. Stapleton is an Associate Professor of Quantitative Psychology in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and teaches graduate courses in intermediate statistics, structural equation modeling and measurement. Her research interests include multilevel latent variable models and the analysis of survey data obtained under complex sampling designs. Her scholarship in these areas has appeared in journals such as Structural Equation Modeling, Multivariate Behavioral Research, and Educational and Psychological Measurement and numerous book chapters. She earned her PhD in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation from the University of Maryland in 2001.

    Mike Thelwall is Professor of Information Science and leader of the Statistical Cybermetrics Research Group at the University of Wolverhampton, UK. He is also Visiting Fellow of the Amsterdam Virtual Knowledge Studio, a Docent at Åbo Akademi University Department of Information Studies and a research associate at the Oxford Internet Institute. He has published 152 refereed journal articles, 7 book chapters and 2 books including Introduction to Webometrics. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology and sits on eight other editorial boards.

    Emma Uprichard is a Lecturer in Social Research Methods at the Department of Sociology at the University of York, UK. Her research interests revolve around the methodological challenge of studying the complex social world and include childhood, cities, time, food, research methods and methodology, and complexity theory.

    Cyprian Wejnert completed his PhD in Sociology at Cornell University in 2009. His research interests include sampling methodology, social networks, hidden populations and HIV prevention. He is currently aiding the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with HIV prevention research among at risk groups and has recently published in Social Networks, Sociological Methodology, and Sociological Methods and Research.

    Richard D. Wiggins joined the Institute of Education, University of London as Head and Chair of Quantitative Social Science in 2007. His methodological interests include the longitudinal analysis of secondary data, mixed methods, survey design, attitude measurement and sampling methodology, evaluation research and policy analysis. Substantive research covers the exploration of structure and agency in the context of ageing, poverty, physical and mental health and well-being as well as cross-national differences in health and quality of life. More recently, he has been working on multilingual capital using administrative data sources for London's school population.

    W. Paul Vogt is Emeritus Professor of Research Methods and Evaluation at Illinois State University where he has won both teaching and research awards. He specializes in research methodology and the design of program evaluations – particularly issues surrounding choice of methods and integrating multiple methods of investigation. His publications include: Dictionary of Statistics and Methodology (3rd edn, Sage, 2005); Quantitative Research Methods for Professionals (Allyn & Bacon, 2006); Tolerance and Education: Learning to Live with Diversity and Difference (Sage, 1997); Education Programs for Improving Intergroup Relations (co-edited with Walter Stephan, Teachers College Press, 2004); Selecting Research Methods, 4 edited vols., (Sage, 2008); Data Collection, 4 edited vols., (Sage, 2010).

    Malcolm Williams is Professor and Director of the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, where he joined in 2010. Prior to this he was Professor of Social Research Methodology at the University of Plymouth. He is the author/ editor of several books on method and methodology, including Science and Social Science (Routledge, 2000), Making Sense of Social Research (Sage, 2003) and Philosophical Foundations of Social Research (Sage, 4 volume collection, 2006). He is the author of many scientific papers in areas such as probability theory, objectivity, representation and empirical work in household transitions, measurement of homelessness and social research pedagogy. He is joint editor of Methodological Innovations Online.

  • Author Index

    Page numbers ending with the letter ‘n’ refer to names in Notes at the end of the chapter

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