Listening to People
A Practical Guide to Interviewing, Participant Observation, Data Analysis, and Writing It All Up
A down-to-earth, practical guide for interview and participant observation and analysis.
In-depth interviews and close observation are essential to the work of social scientists, but inserting one’s researcher-self into the lives of others can be daunting, especially early on. Esteemed sociologist Annette Lareau is here to help. Lareau’s clear, insightful, and personal guide is not your average methods text. It promises to reduce researcher anxiety while illuminating the best methods for first-rate research practice.
As the title of this book suggests, Lareau considers listening to be the core element of interviewing and observation. A researcher must listen to people as she collects data, listen to feedback as she describes what she is learning, listen to the findings of others as they delve into the existing literature on topics, and listen to herself in order to sift and prioritize some aspects of the study over others. By listening in these different ways, researchers will discover connections, reconsider assumptions, catch mistakes, develop and assess new ideas, weigh priorities, ponder new directions, and undertake numerous adjustments—all of which will make their contributions clearer and more valuable.
Accessibly written and full of practical, easy-to-follow guidance, this book will help both novice and experienced researchers to do their very best work. Qualitative research is an inherently uncertain project, but with Lareau’s help, you can alleviate anxiety and focus on success.