Sociological research is hard enough already—you don’t need to make it even harder by smashing about like a bull in a china shop, not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re heading. Or so says John Levi Martin in this witty, insightful, and desperately needed primer on how to practice rigorous social science. Thinking Through Methods focuses on the practical decisions that you will need to make as a researcher—where the data you are working with comes from and how that data relates to all the possible data you could have gathered.
This is a user’s guide to sociological research, designed to be used at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Rather than offer mechanical rules and applications, Martin chooses instead to team up with the reader to think through and with methods. He acknowledges that we are human beings—and thus prone to the same cognitive limitations and distortions found in subjects—and proposes ways to compensate for these limitations. Martin also forcefully argues for principled symmetry, contending that bad ethics makes for bad research, and vice versa. Thinking Through Methods is a landmark work—one that students will turn to again and again throughout the course of their sociological research.
Thinking Through Statistics
John Levi Martin University of Chicago Press, 2018 Library of Congress HA29.M135 2018 | Dewey Decimal 001.422
Simply put, Thinking Through Statistics is a primer on how to maintain rigorous data standards in social science work, and one that makes a strong case for revising the way that we try to use statistics to support our theories. But don’t let that daunt you. With clever examples and witty takeaways, John Levi Martin proves himself to be a most affable tour guide through these scholarly waters.
Martin argues that the task of social statistics isn't to estimate parameters, but to reject false theory. He illustrates common pitfalls that can keep researchers from doing just that using a combination of visualizations, re-analyses, and simulations. Thinking Through Statistics gives social science practitioners accessible insight into troves of wisdom that would normally have to be earned through arduous trial and error, and it does so with a lighthearted approach that ensures this field guide is anything but stodgy.