Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226466378 Will Publish July 2017
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Evidence

Howard S. Becker

Evidence

Howard S. Becker

240 pages | 2 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226466378 Will Publish July 2017
Cloth $60.00 ISBN: 9780226466231 Will Publish July 2017
E-book $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226466408 Will Publish July 2017
Howard S. Becker is a master of his discipline. His reputation as a teacher, as well as a sociologist, is supported by his best-selling quartet of sociological guidebooks: Writing for Social Scientists, Tricks of the Trade, Telling About Society, and What About Mozart? What About Murder? It turns out that the master sociologist has yet one more trick up his sleeve—a fifth guidebook, Evidence.

Becker has for seventy years been mulling over the problem of evidence. He argues that social scientists don’t take questions about the usefulness of their data as evidence for their ideas seriously enough. For example, researchers have long used the occupation of a person’s father as evidence of the family’s social class, but studies have shown this to be a flawed measure—for one thing, a lot of people answer that question too vaguely to make the reasoning plausible. The book is filled with examples like this, and Becker uses them to expose a series of errors, suggesting ways to avoid them, or even to turn them into research topics in their own right. He argues strongly that because no data-gathering method produces totally reliable information, a big part of the research job consists of getting rid of error. Readers will find Becker’s newest guidebook a valuable tool, useful for social scientists of every variety.
Review Quotes
Iddo Tavory, author of Summoned
Evidence is a deeply thoughtful, original take on the relationship between our ideas, the observations we make, and our ways of figuring out how we know what we are talking about. Becker breathes new life into an important tradition that has been overshadowed—thinking about methodology in terms of the practical organization of data gathering, alongside the practical ends we may not suspect, but that end up black-boxed as ‘objective’ data.”
Michael Joyce, author of Foucault, in Winter, in the Linnaeus Garden
“Becker calls Evidence a book he’s been writing for the seventy years of his professional life as a distinguished social scientist and— dare one say?— philosopher. For, beyond being a handbook for doing—and understanding— research, this is a guide to seeking the truth of day to day lives. No social scientist, humanist, or philosopher could imagine a better time for its appearance given the rise of reckless demagogic claims for a ‘post-truth’ age and their disparagement not just of science but democracy and our shared humanity."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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