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Tricks of the Trade: How to Think about Your Research While You're Doing It (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) [Paperback]

By Howard S. Becker, Jack E. Miller, Jonathan Davey, James Coleman (Contributor), David Fisher (Contributor) & Janey Tucker (Translator)
Our Price $ 11.90  
Retail Value $ 14.00  
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Item Number 159901  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   239
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.75" Width: 5.75" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.65 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 19, 1998
Publisher   University Of Chicago Press
ISBN  0226041247  
EAN  9780226041247  

Availability  10 units.
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Item Description...
Drawing on more than four decades of experience as a researcher and teacher, Howard Becker now brings to students and researchers the many valuable techniques he has learned. "Tricks of the Trade" will help students learn how to think about research projects. Assisted by Becker's sage advice, students can make better sense of their research and simultaneously generate fresh ideas on where to look next for new data. The tricks cover four broad areas of social science: the creation of the "imagery" to guide research; methods of "sampling" to generate maximum variety in the data; the development of "concepts" to organize findings; and the use of "logical" methods to explore systematically the implications of what is found. Becker's advice ranges from simple tricks such as changing an interview question from "Why?" to "How?" (as a way of getting people to talk without asking for a justification) to more technical tricks such as how to manipulate truth tables.
Becker has extracted these tricks from a variety of fields such as art history, anthropology, sociology, literature, and philosophy; and his dazzling variety of references ranges from James Agee to Ludwig Wittgenstein. Becker finds the common principles that lie behind good social science work, principles that apply to both quantitative and qualitative research. He offers practical advice, ideas students can apply to their data with the confidence that they will return with something they hadn't thought of before.
Like "Writing for Social Scientists, Tricks of the Trade" will bring aid and comfort to generations of students. Written in the informal, accessible style for which Becker is known, this book will be an essential resource for students in a wide variety of fields.
"An instant classic. . . . Becker's stories and reflections make a great book, one that will find its way into the hands of a great many social scientists, and as with everything he writes, it is lively and accessible, a joy to read."--Charles Ragin, Northwestern University

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More About Howard S. Becker, Jack E. Miller, Jonathan Davey, James Coleman, David Fisher & Janey Tucker

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Howard S. Becker was professor of sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of numerous books, including Tricks of the Trade, Outsiders, and Art Worlds.

Howard S. Becker has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, & Publishing

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Research   [1337  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Social Work   [2351  similar products]
3Books > Subjects > Reference > General   [31729  similar products]
4Books > Subjects > Reference > Writing > Academic & Commercial   [375  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Tricks of the Trade  Nov 4, 2006
This is a must read book for anyone doing serious research. Told with a sense of humor and encouragement.
Good For the Social Scientist  Jul 14, 2005
I bought this book hoping it would help me do my research for my dissertation. It seems to be a reasonably sound book if you're in the social sciences (sociology, psych, anthropology, but I would advise humanities majors and researchers to skip this one. Most of the information presented in this book has no relevance to many other disciplines.
A real disappointment...  Jul 18, 2001
I had high hopes for this one, in preparation for teaching a course on research methods. I found the discussion entirely too abstract -- odd, given Becker's insistence that he would use examples to illustrate his points. There are some intriguing discussions, but much of what I found was not terribly useful.
An invitation to sit in on a graduate seminar in methodology  Jul 12, 2001
Howard S. Becker's Tricks of the Trade is an invitation to sit in on a graduate seminar in methodology with an experienced social science researcher. The tone is conversational and thought-provoking, often humorous. Through a quirky set of examples that includes embezzlement, theatre casting, transvestitism, forestry, and opiate addiction, Becker describes common methodological problems in research and some "tricks" that might be helpful in unlocking them. Although the word "tricks" in the title might put some readers off, the author explains that he has found these to be useful tools in "tam[ing] theory...[by providing] ways of thinking that help researchers faced with concrete research problems make some progress" (p. 4). These tricks are not shortcuts to the solution of theoretical problems; in fact, Becker points out that they may cause more, rather than less, work because they "suggest ways of interfering with the comfortable thought routines academic life promotes and supports" (p. 6).

Becker's very readable book will probably be most interesting to someone who has some research experience and has grappled with the methodological and theoretical problems it addresses. For that reason, it would be less useful as an introductory methodology textbook than it would for a beginning researcher, but reading Tricks of the Trade will benefit researchers of any experience level. The usefulness of a particular trick to a given researcher will depend on the researcher's interests and experiences, but this may well be one of those books that yields fresh insights each time it is read. The main strength of Tricks of the Trade is the glimpse it provides into the thinking of an experienced and respected researcher.

Addresses the research process in an easy to understand way.  Feb 17, 1999
I am posed on the brink of my proposal and have been reading similar books about writing and research. This one is by far one of the best. Howard Becker is having a conversation with the reader about doing research in the social sciences. I find the concepts easy to follow and feel that his ideas have a universal applicability. I enjoy Dr. Becker's writing style, which is light on the jargon and heavy on the realities of graduate school.

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