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'You might think that dancing doesn't have a lot to do with social research, and doing social research is probably why you picked this book up in the first place. But trust me. Salsa dancing is a practice as well as a metaphor for a kind of research that will make your life easier and better'. Savvy, witty, and sensible, this unique book is both a handbook for defining and completing a research project, and an astute introduction to the neglected history and changeable philosophy of modern social science. In this volume, Kristin Luker guides novice researchers in: knowing the difference between an area of interest and a research topic; defining the relevant parts of a potentially infinite research literature; mastering sampling, operationalization, and generalization; understanding which research methods best answer your questions; and, beating writer's block. Most important, she shows how friendships, nonacademic interests, and even salsa dancing can make for a better researcher. 'You know about setting the kitchen timer and writing for only an hour, or only 15 minutes if you are feeling particularly anxious. I wrote a fairly large part of this book feeling exactly like that.
If I can write an entire book 15 minutes at a time, so can you'.
Kristin Luker is Elizabeth Josselyn Boalt Professor of Law and Professor of Sociology at the University of California at Berkeley.