Great reads… Robert Caro’s “Working”

Now in his 80s, author Robert A. Caro provides a wonderful example to other writers of not only how to keep going in spite of challenges, but how to conduct exemplary research. Caro has been awarded numerous prizes for his work – which includes biographies of urban planner Robert Moses, and a four-volume biography of … Continue reading Great reads… Robert Caro’s “Working”

Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday

Since January 7 marked Zora Neale Hurston’s (1891-1960) birthday, this blog looks at one of her books. Hurston’s book, Barracoon: The story of the last "Black Cargo", tells the oral history of Cudjo Lewis as she recorded it in 1927. Zora Neale Hurston was a talented anthropologist, ethnographer, folklorist, filmmaker and novelist. Her first interview … Continue reading Celebrating Zora Neale Hurston’s birthday

Guidance for doing archival research

Archival collections are typically considered the preserve of historians. Yet, qualitative researchers can make use of archival collections to supplement ongoing research, explore methodological issues, or conduct a secondary analysis of archived data sets. But how might one go about entering the archives?  This question is addressed by the book: The Archive Project: Archival Research … Continue reading Guidance for doing archival research

Examining the criminal justice system using qualitative methods

Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve’s book, Crook County: Racism and injustice in America’s largest criminal court, examines the work of the justice system as carried out in the largest criminal court in the US, Chicago-Cook County. In five devastating chapters, the author provides story after story as evidence supporting the key idea in the book: the justice … Continue reading Examining the criminal justice system using qualitative methods

Translating academic writing into trade books

Academic writers typically orient their writing to readers like themselves: other academics used to the jargon associated with any particular discipline. Yet some scholars manage to traverse the divide between the ivory tower and the general public and produce readable, enjoyable, and educational explanations of their topics of interest in the form of trade books. … Continue reading Translating academic writing into trade books

A writer’s guide to getting trim

Helen Sword’s (2007) book The writer’s diet: A guide to fit prose was published for an international audience in 2016. Sword (2016) uses healthy nutrition and fitness as a metaphor to help academic writers improve their prose. Rather than produce heart attack-inducing writing, Sword surveys academics’ language use with the aim of encouraging “fit prose.” … Continue reading A writer’s guide to getting trim

On developing stylish academic writing

Every now and again, you come across a book that you wish you had read years ago. Stylish academic writing by a literary scholar and poet, Helen Sword (2012), is one of these. I really wish I had read this when I first went to college. This book would have saved me much heartache, although … Continue reading On developing stylish academic writing

Doing ethnography in a war zone

This semester, I'm using Doctors at War: Life and Death in a Field Hospital, authored by Mark de Rond in a class I am teaching. De Rond is a professor of Organizational Ethnography in the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge in the UK. One of the topics that he examines is how people … Continue reading Doing ethnography in a war zone

Recently published qualitative studies

This semester I’m using several recently published studies with one of my classes. Here are two, both of which discuss “whiteness” and “white privilege”, albeit from different perspectives and in different contexts. Timothy Lensmire’s book, White folks: Race and identity in rural America (Lensmire, 2017) explores whiteness through in-depth qualitative interviews that the author conducted … Continue reading Recently published qualitative studies

Exploring arts-based research

It has already been a decade since Gary Knowles and Ardra Cole’s (2008) edited handbook of the arts in qualitative research was published. Patricia Leavy’s Handbook of Arts-Based Research (2018), published by Guildford Press, provides an updated overview of the incredible variety of arts-based research currently undertaken. The Handbook of Arts-Based Research adds to Leavy’s prolific output, … Continue reading Exploring arts-based research