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Researching Social Change Qualitative Approaches by Julie McLeod, Rachel Thomson

Researching Social Change Qualitative Approaches



Researching Social Change Qualitative Approaches by Julie McLeod, Rachel Thomson

Questions about change in social and personal life are a feature of many accounts of the contemporary world. While theories of social change abound, discussions about how to research it are much less common. This book provides a timely guide to qualitative methodologies that investigate processes of personal, generational and historical change. The authors showcase a range of methods that explore temporality and the dynamic relations between past, present and future. Through case studies, they review six methodological traditions: memory-work, oral/life history, qualitative longitudinal research, ethnography, intergenerational and follow-up studies. It illustrates how these research approaches are translated into research projects and considers the practical as well as the theoretical and ethical challenges they pose. Research methods are also the product of times and places, and this book keeps to the fore the cultural and historical context in which these methods developed, the theoretical traditions on which they draw, and the empirical questions they address. Researching Social Change is an invaluable resource for researchers and graduate students across the social sciences who are interested in understanding and researching social change.


This book will undobutedly be a key reference work in the fast growing area of qualitative analyses of social change - International Journal of Social Research Methodology

This is a scholarly and thoughtful book. It is clearly written and accessible with useful summaries of the main points at each chapter end...It provides a valuable resource for qualitative social researchers and students, being packed with references and further resources across a range of research traditionsSocial Research Association News

The book has broad appeal to anyone interested in researching social change, at whatever stage they are at in their career. It provides not only a useful introduction to a range of methods but also helps the researcher to consider their positioning within their own project. The authors write enthusiastically about research and celebrate the fact that it should be a collaborative process, two important concepts for any qualitative researcher to remember Qualitative Research

About the Author

Convenor of the Strategic Research Program: 'Education, Equity and Social Identities' Member of Melbourne Educational Research Institute (MERI) Member of MGSE Equal Opportunity in Education Advisory Committee My research interests lie in interdisciplinary and socio-cultural studies of education, identity, equity/inequality and social change. My research projects and publications encompass theoretical and empirical studies of gender and youth, history and sociology of schooling, curriculum and subjectivity, equity and difference, and feminism and educational reform. I have recently completed a major qualitative longitudinal study of secondary school students and a cross-generational study of culturally marginalised young women. I am currently working on an international comparative study of disenfranchised urban youth and a book on methodologies for researching social, historical and biographical change. I am also beginning a new study on the cultural history of adolescence in Australia, 1930s-1970s Rachel Thomson is Professor of Social Resaerch in the School of Health and Social Welfare. Rachel has been involved in a major longitudinal qualitative study of young people transitions to adulthood, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council since 1996 through the Children 5-16 and the Young People, Citizenship and Social Change programmes. The study is currently being archived with the support of a grant from the ESRC, and will be made available for secondary analysis (see Her research interests focus on gender identities, social change, sexuality, values, transitions and popular culture.

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Book Info

Publication date

26th March 2009


Julie McLeod, Rachel Thomson

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SAGE Publications Inc


200 pages


Social research & statistics



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