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Cambridge University Press
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December 2009
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Social scientists have long relied on a wide range of tools to collect information about the social world, but as individual fields have become more specialised, researchers are trained to use a narrow range of the possible data collection methods. This book, first published in 2006, draws on a broad range of available social data collection methods to formulate a set of data collection approaches. The approaches described here are ideal for social science researchers who plan to collect new data about people, organisations, or social processes. Axinn and Pearce present methods designed to create a comprehensive empirical description of the subject being studied, with an emphasis on accumulating the information needed to understand what causes what with a minimum of error. In addition to providing methodological motivation and underlying principles, the book is filled with detailed instructions and concrete examples for those who wish to apply the methods to their research.


'This book makes a powerful case for the use of mixed methods, a case that focuses on their advantages for, among other things, research design, data quality, and casual modelling. I particularly recommend the book to new investigators and those still at an early stage of their career. … if new investigators follow Axinn and Pearce's example, demography (and other social sciences) will probably discover more about social processes than they otherwise would. … I was particularly impressed that the likelihood of surprises was taken into designing the questionnaires for the neighbourhood histories, data for which were collected in three rounds.'

Source: Population Studies

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