Research Confidential

Solutions to Problems Most Social Scientists Pretend They Never Have
Eszter Hargittai, editor

A new guide for a new generation of social science researchers


This collection of essays aims to fill a notable gap in the existing literature on research methods in the social sciences. While the methods literature is extensive, rarely do authors discuss the practical issues and challenges they routinely confront in the course of their research projects. As a result, editor Eszter Hargittai argues, each new cohort is forced to reinvent the wheel, making mistakes that previous generations have already confronted and resolved. Research Confidential seeks to address this failing by supplying new researchers with the kind of detailed practical information that can make or break a given project. Written in an informal, accessible, and engaging manner by a group of prominent young scholars, many of whom are involved in groundbreaking research in online contexts, this collection promises to be a valuable tool for graduate students and educators across the social sciences.

"We all know that the actual process of empirical research is a messy, complicated business that at best only approximates the models we impart to students. Research Confidential pulls back the curtain on this process, laying bare the sordid details of the research process, but doing so in a way that respects the ideals of social research and that provides useful lessons for young scholars. It should be required reading for our research methods courses."
—Michael X. Delli Carpini, Dean, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

"In this impressive volume, some of the brightest young lights in social research have taken us backstage to share what they learned from their innovative projects. Besides providing a wealth of help with methodological concerns, the book includes theoretical and career issues to consider when doing research. Anyone doing research should benefit from reading it."
—Caroline Hodges Persell, Professor of Sociology, New York University

"Research Confidential complements existing methods literature by providing refreshingly honest accounts of key challenges and decision forks-in-the-research-road. Each chapter enlightens and entertains."
—Kirsten Foot, Associate Professor of Communication, University of Washington

"A must-read for researchers embarking on new projects. Rather than the abstract descriptions of most methods textbooks, this volume provides rich accounts of the firsthand experiences of actual researchers. An invaluable resource of practical advice. Critically, it will make new researchers aware of the actual challenges that they are likely to face in their work."
—Christopher Winship, editor of Sociological Methods and Research and Professor of Sociology, Harvard University

Cover art courtesy of Dustin Gerard

Eszter Hargittai is Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Northwestern University and Fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. 

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Copyright © 2009, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 312pp.
  • 2 tables, 2 B&W photographs.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07026-8

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  • $94.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05026-0

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  • $29.95 U.S.

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