Method in the Madness

Research Stories You Won’t Read in Textbooks

Edited by

  • Keith Townsend, Griffith University
  • John Burgess

Method in the Madness is presented as a companion to researchers investigating the complex world of work. Rather than a ‘How to’ text on performing research, this book presents a record of experiences. Research so often evolves in the field or the planning stages and a successful researcher need to be aware of serendipitous opportunities as they arise and how to solve problems as they occur. The book comprises an introduction written by the editors followed by thirteen chapters written by different contributors. The introduction draws together the disparate experiences that follow and discusses the ways in which the contributors, all of whom are respected researchers, dealt with and learned from the research experience. In the following chapters, the contributors describe and reflect on the research process, the challenges they met during their research and the lessons learned. The style varies, but includes narratives, anecdotes and descriptions of individuals’ experiences as research was designed and carried out and the results generated.
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Research students in business and social science programs


Book information

  • Published: June 2009
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • ISBN: 978-1-84334-493-3

Table of Contents

Serendipity and flexibility in social science research: Meeting the unexpected. Part 1 Living the research: There are ways and then there are ways: Conducting research in social settings in Japan; ‘On the mop-floor’: Researching employment relations in the hidden world of commercial cleaning; Drinking with Dessie: Research, mines and life in the Pilbara. Part 2 Access for research: Combating information suspicion: Guinness, sports and glassblowing; What lies beneath: The pleasures, pain and possibilities of focus groups. Part 3 Interviews as a method: Looking through the haze of discontent: Smokers as a data source; Interviewing men: Reading more than the transcripts; Establishing rapport: Using quantitative and qualitative methods in tandem; Wrong way, go back! Negotiating access in industry-based research; A sporting chance: Workplace ethnographies, ethics protocols and playing by the rules. Part 4 Preparing and responding throughout the project: Sitting on a wall in Northumberland crying: Semi-structured interviews; Researching train-based working; A story about being engaged in research: Buzzing bees, small business and Australian unfair dismissal laws; Lessons learnt from this madness.