Policy Press

Publishing with a purpose

Pioneering Social Research

Life Stories of a Generation

By Paul Thompson, Ken Plummer and Neli Demireva

Published

Apr 1, 2022

Page count

254 pages

ISBN

978-1447333579

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Feb 22, 2021

Page count

254 pages

ISBN

978-1447333524

Dimensions

234 x 156 mm

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Feb 22, 2021

Page count

254 pages

ISBN

978-1447333548

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press

Published

Feb 22, 2021

Page count

254 pages

ISBN

978-1447333548

Dimensions

Imprint

Policy Press
Pioneering Social Research

Presenting the landmark Pioneers life stories project, this one-of-a-kind book documents how modern social research in the UK was shaped.

It sheds new light on the lives, methods and motivations of men and women who helped develop a new world of research methodology, pioneered feminist research, and first confronted the issues of race and ethnicity.

It combines a fascinating history of the generations who built outstanding and influential social research with a valuable resource for future research and teaching on methods.

"This unique project presents key social researchers’ work and lives over the course of the last century, and provides insight into change and continuity in research practice. A powerful resource." Julia Brannen, University College London

“Every research method starts out with a pioneering investigator, and the inspirational stories of the mould-breaking social scientists told here are full of curiosity, controversy, resourcefulness, ingenuity, imagination and dedication.” Graham Crow, University of Edinburgh

Paul Thompson is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. He is Founder-Editor of Oral History and Founder of National Life Stories at the British Library. He is a pioneer of oral history in Europe and author of the international classic The Voice of the Past (4th edition 2017). His other books include The Edwardians and Living the Fishing. He is co-author of Growing Up in Stepfamilies, of The Myths We Live By (with Raphael Samuel), and (with Daniel Bertaux) Pathways to Social Class.

Ken Plummer is Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Essex. He has researched and written widely on sexuality, especially lesbian, gay and queer studies. His methodological concerns are with the development of narrative, life story, symbolic interactionism and the post-modern turn.

Neli Demireva is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex. Her research interests include migration, inter-ethnic ties, social cohesion, ethnic penalties and multiculturalism. She uses a variety of methods in her research, both quantitative and qualitative, and believes strongly in mixing methods to uncover the ‘deep stories’ of sociology.

Chapter 1 ~ Introduction: the pioneers of social research study

Voices 1 ~ Moments of discovery

Chapter 2 ~ Life stories: biography and creativity

Voices 2 ~ Beginnings

Chapter 3 ~ Contexts: Empire, politics and culture

Voices 3 ~ Old boundaries, new thoughts

Chapter 4 ~ Organising: creating research worlds

Voices 4 ~ Old and new trends

Chapter 5 ~ Fighting or mixing: quantitative and qualitative research

Voices 5 ~ Into the field

Chapter 6 ~ Fieldwork: making methods

Voices 6 ~ On the margins

Chapter 7 ~ Social divisions: class, gender, ethnicity – and more

Voices 7 ~ Reflections for the future

Chapter 8 ~ Conclusion: what can we learn?

Chapter 9 ~ Epilogue