Nigel Gilbert (Editor)

Pub Date: 03/2008
Pages: 576

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Nigel Gilbert (Editor)
Links to relevant websites
Related websites
Chapter 1: Conceptualising Social Life

Two general sites which provide a range of resources, and links to more specialised sites:

For anyone wishing to read more about the work of Latour and colleagues:

Chapter 2: Research, Theory and Method

1. Social Research Update

Social Research Update is a quarterly publication produced by the Department of Sociology at the University of Surrey. It began publication in March 1993 and each issue covers a particular issue within social research and contains an article of approximately 2500 words on the subject. A hard copy of the publication is available free of charge to academics in the UK. Topics covered include using computers in interviewing and to analyse data; telephone interviewing and focus groups; finding information online; anonymity; safety of the researcher; multilevel modelling; translating research data and many more subjects. Both qualitative and quantitative techniques are covered. All the articles are available online in HTML format.

2. ESRC National Centre for Research Methods

The ESRC National Centre for Research Methods (NCRM) consists of a co-ordinating Hub at the University of Southampton, and a series of Node projects around the UK. It aims to provide a focal point for the identification, development and delivery of an integrated national research and training programme aimed at improving the quality and range of methodological skills and techniques used by the UK social science community. The website provides details about the centre and links to the ESRC's Research Methods Programme.

3. Exploring Online Research Methods in a Virtual Training Environment

"Exploring online research methods in virtual training environment is an ESRC-funded online training package designed to support researchers using online research methods. The package focuses specifically on the potentials and problems of online research methods and provides: a self-supporting online resource to enhance understanding of both the theoretical and practical aspects of online research methods including online questionnaires, and virtual synchronous and asynchronous interviews; access to a wide range of good practice case studies and important resource links; discussion of the ethical issues of online research and comprehensive technical guidance".

4. Sociology UTSA style: social theory

The site provides an overview of social theory perspectives using Randall Collins' (1994) categories of the Conflict, Rational/Utilitarian, Durkheimian, and Microinteractionist traditions. Postmodern theory is also included. Though the page is not well maintained it is easy to use and there are links to some useful social theory websites.

Chapter 3: Refining the Question

Research 101

Research 101 is an interactive online tutorial for students wanting an introduction to research skills. It is developed by UWill, University of Washington Libraries. The tutorial covers the basics, including how to select a topic and develop research questions, as well as how to select, search for, find, and evaluate information sources. It includes a separate topic on narrowing a research question.

Chapter 5: Searching for and Reviewing Literature

International Bibliography of the Social Sciences:


Web of Knowledge:



Chapter 6: Designing Samples

The division of Social Statistics

The Division of Social Statistics is based within the School of Social Sciences at the University of Southampton. The Division's "research mission is to develop statistical and demographic methodology with a commitment to applications in the social sciences", with focus on Sample Survey Theory and Methods, Demography and Living Standards and Statistical Modelling and Actuarial Science. The site includes a series of working papers.

Chapter 7: Grounded theory and inductive research

1. Grounded Theory Institute

This site is concerned with the development of Grounded Theory and it mainly covers the work of Dr. Barney G. Glaser. Details are given of seminars run by The Grounded Theory Institute and there is also an online Forum which is used for questions and information. Non-members can access the General Forum, but you have to join to see the other specific topic Forums. The site also gives details on how to join, a list of relevant resources, new publications, and the Grounded Theory Review, which is a subscription journal.

2. The Grounded Theory Institute

The Grounded Theory Institute conducts seminars at a variety of international locations as well as internet seminars and there is an online forum. The site provides event information as well as information on Barry Glaser's publications, DVDs and an interview he recorded with Dr. Andy Lowe on:"What is Grounded Theory"and "How is Grounded Theory Done. The institute hosts the journal: The Grounded Theory Review: an International Journal.

3. The Grounded Theory Review

The Grounded Theory Review is a quarterly, peer-reviewed journal. There is online access to abstracts and tables of content. The journal aims to advance "classic grounded theory research and scholarship" and seeks to publish "papers featuring substantive theories developed using classic grounded theory methodology as well as papers with a focus on methodological perspectives".

Chapter 8: Participatory Action Research

1. Action Research Resources

This site is maintained by Bob Dick provides comprehensive links and material to key action research, action learning and related resources.

2. Action Research Resources

A website developed by the Denver campus of the University of Colorado that hosts a comprehensive collection of on-line papers and other resources.

Chapter 9: Mixed Methods

1. User-Friendly Handbook for Mixed Method Evaluations

This is a free online guide to using a mixture of methods, i.e. using both quantitative and qualitative techniques in research. Published by the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Education and Human Resources in 1997, the handbook aims to 'provide information on qualitative techniques and discuss how they can be combined effectively with quantitative measures'. The publication is aimed at researchers and principal investigators who need 'practical rather than technically sophisticated advice about evaluation methodology'. Although the NSF supports mainly science and engineering, the principles in this handbook will also be of use to social scientists. The Handbook is divided into 4 parts: (I)Introduction to Mixed Method Evaluations (II) Overview of Qualitative Methods and Analytic Techniques; (III) Designing and Reporting Mixed Method Evaluations; and (IV) Supplementary Materials, which contains an annotated bibliography and glossary.

2. Qualitative Research Bibliography

Compiled by Dr Bobbi Kerlin who is Learning Technology Coordinator at Queen's University, Ontario, Canada, the Qualitative Research Bibliography contains links to hundreds of publications and websites across all areas of qualitative research methods. The full bibliography is broken down into sub-sections including credibility, conceptual frameworks, action research, autobiography, case study research, ethnography, focus groups, journaling/field notes, mixed methods, narrative and analysis. The site is part of a larger qualitative research methods site maintained by the same author.

Chapter 10: Ethics

British Sociological Association Statement of Ethical Practice 2002 


Social Research Association Ethical Guidelines December 2003


RESPECT professional and ethical guidelines for the conduct of socio-economic research in Europe.


ESRC [2005] Research Ethics Framework


GSR [2007] Ethics in Social Research: the views of research participants [HM  Treasury: Government Social Research Unit]   URL:

York (2005) Research Ethics Framework: Developing a Framework for Social Science Research Ethics, by SATSU and Oxford Brookes University. [URL:]

Chapter 11: Questionnaires

1. Hints for Designing Effective Questionnaires

This short article by Robert B. Frary, Virginia Polytechnical Institute, in the electronic journal Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation (v.5 no.3, 1996), seeks to identify 'some of the more prevalent problems in questionnaire development' and suggests ways to avoid them. The article is written clearly and at a fairly basic level, with simple examples and a short 'Additional Reading' list. Access to the article is free and the format is html. The journal is partly supported by the University of Maryland, Department of Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation.

2. ThesisTools

ThesisTools is a website that allows you to create free online questionnaires for use in research. It is aimed at students in higher education who wish to use quantitative methods in their research projects. You need to register to use the site with your address and where you are studying. Once this is done, you can log in and create your free web questionnaire, using a set of forms to define the text you want shown and the types of questions that you want to ask. On the free version there are small ThesisTools adverts added to your questionnaire, but you can pay for a survey if you prefer a version without adverts. Once your survey is created, you can email a URL to potential respondents, or you can print off a paper version if you prefer. The free version runs for 3 months, then there is an additional fee if you wish to run the questionnaire for longer. The website also offers several forums, where you can talk to other students and promote your questionnaire. These are based around the country of origin, so each forum uses a different European language. The main ThesisTools website is also available in the same languages. ThesisTools ask that you send them a summary of your research results in return for the use of the free survey. Some of the most recent summaries are published on the website.

3. ESRC Question Bank

The Question Bank provides a resource for the UK social science community covering issues about professional social survey data collection; social measurement using surveys; and information about design of survey questionnaires. The Question Bank aims to play a role in bridging the gap between academics and professional survey agencies. The ESRC Question Bank contains information on social measurement, in three main areas: surveys, topics and resources. The site provides links to over 50 national surveys, but does not link to datasets.

Chapter 12: Measuring Attitudes

Role of Formal Theory in Comparative Research

This article has been published on the Internet by the Russells Sage Foundation as a working paper. Essentially looking at ways of measuring attitudes the authors look at the example of voting behaviour. They attempt to "to reflect on how to construct valid indicators in measuring properties such as rationality or ideology. In particular, we focus on how to measure attitudes related to value judgements (like ideological attitudes), when subjects may have little or no incentive to reveal their true positions".

Chapter 13: Focus Groups

Qualitative Research: Telephone Focus Groups, Face-to-Face Focus Groups

More than fifteen full length articles are presented here on focus groups. Most of them were written by George Silverman, President of Market Navigation Inc, a firm of marketing consultants. Although not intended for the academic sector, they will be of interest in that they present lively and practical advice on how best to manage telephone and face-to-face focus groups, from the commercial viewpoint of gauging customer reaction to products.

Chapter 14: Interviewing

1. Introduction to Interviewing Techniques

This useful basic text for undergraduates is one chapter for a handbook for engineering students in Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Massachusetts. This part of the handbook aims introduce students to various social science research techniques. The chapter on interviewing techniques is by James K. Doyle, and is divided into a number of pages of reasonable length and concluded by a brief bibliography.

2. Convergent interviewing: a technique for qualitative data collection

Bob Dick of Southern Cross University, has created this one-page essay to support the 'regular public program "areol" (action research and evaluation on line)'. It is a clear, practical examination of a technique that 'combines some of the features of structured and unstructured interviews, and uses a systematic process to refine the information collected'. The page is divided into 5 sections, which include a Detailed Description, 'Keeping the informant talking', and 'The opening question'. It forms part of the collection Resource Papers in Action Research.

3. Qualitative Methods Workbook

Professor George Boeree, of the Psychology Department, Shippensburg University, Pennsylvania, has produced this ' "e-text"...for the college course Qualitative Research Methods'. It consists of 20 short chapters and a bibliography divided into 5 parts (introduction & description, structural analysis, observation, interviewing,other techniques). Case studies and examples are used throughout the text and at the end of the text, there are several links to related sites, and some further 'phenomenological sketches'.

Chapter 15: Ethnography

Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life

The Center for the Ethnography of Everyday Life (CEEL) is based at the University of Michigan in the United States. The CEEL is "devoted to encouraging research - through field projects, publication, and training - into everyday work and family life in the United States", specifically focusing on "documented changes in the lives of the American Middle Class as indicators of deeper currents in meaning and motivation."

Ethnographic Writing by Martyn Hammersley

As a result of the influence of structuralism and post-structuralism, and of a revival of the ancient discipline of rhetoric, much greater attention is now given to the study of texts, including those produced by natural scientists and historians, but also those of social scientists. In this context interest in ethnographic writing has greatly increased. Not only are there now several books concerned with how to write ethnographic or qualitative accounts but there is also a growing literature of a more theoretical kind concerned with the rhetorical devices that ethnographers deploy, the presuppositions on which these are based, the functions they perform. This article is published in the online journal Social Research Update, Issue 5.

Chapter 16: Using documents

From Pictorialising to Visual Anthropology

This article by Fadwa El Guindi was originally published as a chapter in 'The Handbook of Methods in Cultural Anthropology' edited by H. Russell Bernard and is now found online via the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and the El Nil Laboratory for Visual Ethnography. The article/chapter focuses on the origin and history, methods and theories of visual anthropology. The chapter is extremely comprehensive and contains sections that are headed as follows: 'Film: Technology and Ethnography', 'Research Film and Photography', 'Native Knowledge Through Visual Methods', which includes photograph and film elicitation and feedback, 'Native Film as Experiment', 'Culture Reconstruction', and 'Ritual Space Within Culture Space'.

Chapter 17: Narrative Analysis

Quantitative & Qualitative Research

Part of the series Writing Guides, these nine pamphlets were written by 'graduate students enrolled in the Colorado State University Department of English research methods seminar'. They function as both useful generally applicable introductions to methodological issues, as well as being in themselves examples of good learning outcomes. They look at a range of subjects, including introduction to statistics, experimental method and design, ethnography, observational research and narrative enquiry, survey research and content analysis. They are clearly laid out in simple HTML format.

Chapter 18: The internet and research methods

A very useful web site offering an online tutorial for those contemplating an online study involving interviews or questionnaires is Exploring Online Research Methods at

Chapter 19: Coding and Managing data

Understanding Social Statistics

This book is an introduction to social statistics and data analysis for students across the social sciences. It is a guide to quantitative data analytic methodology. It serves as an introductory guide to SPSS (Version 9), which is a widely used statistical analysis program. Two data sets can be downloaded from the website, the General Household Survey and Socioeconomic Indicators of Development. There are a series of exercises available online to aid learning and understanding of statistical methods. The following statistical tables are available: Normal, Chi square and t. A glossary of terms is published online. The book is not published in full online.

Raynald's SPSS Tools

A website offering tools and tips for users of SPSS software - commonly used for data mining and statistical analysis. Produced by a Canadian Actuary, the site offers an archive of 400+ sample SPSS syntax, scripts and macros classified by purpose, as well as an FAQ, tips, tutorials and a Newbie's Corner. It invites contributions from other SPSS users to create a shared, open-source resource. The site is available in English, German, Italian, Portugese and Spanish.

Chapter 20: Analysing Survey Data

Survey Methods Newsletter

The Survey Methods Newsletter is a new service from the National Centre for Social Research. It began life in 1980, as a paper-based document. The aim is to "promote good practice in survey methodology, disseminate relevant research findings and encourage discussion and debate about all aspects of survey methodology." The newsletter is published two or three times a year, and it is possible to receive it by email. Surveys cover a wide range of social issues, including family life, employment, health and sexual attitudes.

Chapter 21: Secondary Analysis

Economic and Social Data Service:

European Social Survey:

Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research:

Missing Data:

International Social Survey:

German Social Science Infrastructure Services:

Chapter 22: Computer Assisted Qualitative Data Analysis

Internet resources (see also Table 22.2)

CAQDAS Networking Project  (2007)
Provides platforms for debate, information – advisory help-lines - download demo versions of software - links to free and commercial software developer pages - links to related resources - links to data conversion/transcription software programs

Internet Discussion  List   qual-software:

Forum for debate about use of technology and software for QDA  - (Message Archives

Online QDA and CAQDAS   (2005)  Qualitative data analysis advice - resources – methodologies – glossary -  references – step by step processes – links.

Chapter 23: Conversation Analysis and Discourse Analysis

1. Discourse and Rhetoric Group

DARG was set up in November 1987 and is based in the Department of Social Sciences at the University of Loughborough. It aims to act as a "vehicle for generating discussion at the intersection of a number of interests in discourse, rhetoric, activity and conversation". The website includes information about the history of DARG, a subject-based list of DARG publications, links to online papers and an online introductory tutorial to conversation analysis.


Produced by Paul ten Have, formerly of the Department of Sociology, University of Amsterdam, ETHNO/CA NEWS is an online newsletter which covers Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis. It is a medium for the exchange of information concerning publications, conferences and other items relevant to Ethnomethodology and Conversation Analysis among those who work in the field or have a strong interest in it. A number of bibliographies are available, alongside news of people working in the field and conferences. A list of links to relevant resources is also provided.

Chapter 24: Analysing Visual Materials

1. Quantitative & Qualitative Research

Part of the series Writing Guides, these nine pamphlets were written by 'graduate students enrolled in the Colorado State University Department of English research methods seminar'. They function as both useful generally applicable introductions to methodological issues, as well as being in themselves examples of good learning outcomes. They look at a range of subjects, including introduction to statistics, experimental method and design, ethnography, observational research and narrative enquiry, survey research and content analysis. They are clearly laid out in simple HTML format.

2. Seeing Through Pictures: the Anthropology of Photography

This article by Jay Ruby was originally published in Camera Lucida No. 3. 1981. Ruby discusses "the relationship between the social sciences and photography approached from the perspective of the ethnography of visual communication. Photography is regarded as one of six visual domains (the others being film, television, arts and crafts, the built environment, and performance) which constitute a culturally conditioned visual communication system amenable to ethnographic analysis. He describes the underlying rationale for studying photography in this manner and suggests an anthropological approach to photography."

Chapter 25: Writing about Social Research

1. Writing a Research Paper

This article, written by Sarah Hamid, is a guide to producing a research paper. The article is divided into chronological steps, and offers hints for each stage of the writing process. Hamid goes on to provide further references. It is hosted by the Online Writing Lab (OWL) and is intended for an undergraduate audience.

2. Guide to Writing a Basic Essay

This article, authored by Kathy Livingston, outlines the basic structure of an essay and provides a step-by-step guide to completing all the phases of development and writing. The author provides an additional copy as a downloadable PDF file (for which you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader).

3. KU Writing Center

KU Writing Center is a service provided by the University of Kansas for its students. The website offers advice on essay writing, avoiding plagiarism, critical thinking, writing up research and referencing of documents. The advice is tailored for undergraduates and postgraduates, with a special section on writing up original research, which is of particular relevance to social scientists. In addition to its own guides (which are available as web pages or PDF documents), the website provides links to other sites on related topics.

4. better writing

This site is maintained by Oxford University Press - Oxford Dictionaries.It provides free advice and tips on improving writing skills which would be of value to students. It includes sections on English language grammar; spelling writing letters and CVs.Some samples can be downloaded.


This list has hugely benefited from Intute web resources for education and research.