Principles of Sociological Inquiry – Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

(9 reviews)


Amy Blackstone, University of Maine

Pub Date:

ISBN 13: 978-1-4533288-9-7

Publisher: Saylor Foundation

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Reviewed by Helen McManus, Adjunct Professor, Librarian, George Mason University, on 6/21/2017.

This review considers this book's usefulness for a political science qualitative methods course. Political science programs typically require only … read more



Reviewed by Matthew DeCarlo, Assistant Professor, Radford University, on 4/12/2017.

This book covers all of the important concepts in an introductory research methods text. Some of the more advanced concepts (e.g. types of validity … read more



Reviewed by Mikaila Arthur, Associate Professor, Rhode Island College, on 4/12/2017.

There is no index or glossary. The chapter on theory provides many useful explanations, but never focuses on the question of what theory or why it … read more



Reviewed by Alexa Smith-Osborne, Professor, University of Texas at Arlington, on 4/12/2017.

This text's comprehensiveness, in combination with simple language suited to first exposure to the topic, is one of the chief strengths of the book. … read more



Reviewed by Robert Liebman, Professor, Portland State University, on 2/9/2017.

Text is comprehensive in two senses: it covers what is standard in Research Methods texts and it serves the author’s focus on teaching research … read more



Reviewed by Anna Berardi, Professor, George Fox University, on 2/9/2017.

This text is comprehensive in scope and depth of content. The HTML version is extremely effective in helping the reader identify material as listed … read more



Reviewed by Noelle Chesley, Associate Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, on 1/8/2016.

I find the text to be very comprehensive. I think it covers most of the topics and subtopics one would expect to see in an undergraduate sociology … read more



Reviewed by Alison Bianchi, Associate Professor, University of Iowa, on 1/8/2016.

This textbook covers all of the research methods needed for an undergraduate level research methods course. I have specific concerns that I will … read more



Reviewed by Susan Burke, Associate Professor, University of Oklahoma, on 1/13/2015.

I used two online textbooks for my Fall 2014 course and this Blackstone text was far more comprehensive than the other one. It contained either … read more


Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1: Introduction
  • Chapter 2: Linking Methods With Theory
  • Chapter 3: Research Ethics
  • Chapter 4: Beginning a Research Project
  • Chapter 5: Research Design
  • Chapter 6: Defining and Measuring Concepts
  • Chapter 7: Sampling
  • Chapter 8: Survey Research: A Quantitative Technique
  • Chapter 9: Interviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
  • Chapter 10: Field Research: A Qualitative Technique
  • Chapter 11: Unobtrusive Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
  • Chapter 12: Other Methods of Data Collection and Analysis
  • Chapter 13: Sharing Your Work
  • Chapter 14: Reading and Understanding Social Research
  • Chapter 15: Research Methods in the Real World

About the Book

The author of Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods, Amy Blackstone, started envisioning this textbook while sitting in her own undergraduate sociology research methods class. She enjoyed the material but wondered about its relevance to her everyday life and future plans (the idea that one day she would be teaching such a class hadn’t yet occurred to her).

Now that she teaches the research methods course, she realizes that students today wonder the very same thing. While the importance of understanding research methods is usually clear to those students who intend to pursue an advanced degree, Amy wanted to write a text that would assist research methods teachers in demonstrating to all types of students the relevance of this course.

In addition, Amy Blackstone’s experience as an active researcher who uses both qualitative and quantitative methods made her acutely aware of the need for a balanced approach in teaching methods of sociological inquiry.

Together, Amy Blackstone’s experiences as a student, researcher, and teacher shape the three overriding objectives of Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods: Relevance, Balance, and Accessibility.

Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods emphasizes the relevance of research methods for the everyday lives of its readers, undergraduate students.  Each chapter describes how research methodology is useful for students in the multiple roles they fill:

  1. As consumers of popular and public information
  2. As citizens
  3. As current and future employees. Connections to these roles are made throughout and directly within the main text of the book

Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods also provides balanced coverage of qualitative and quantitative approaches by integrating a variety of examples from recent and classic sociological research. The text challenges students to debate and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of both approaches.

Finally, one of the most important goals Amy had for Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods was to introduce students to the core principles of social research in a way that is straightforward and engaging. As such, the text reflects public sociology’s emphasis on making sociology accessible and readable. No one can validate that claim more than a teacher or student. So, take a look for yourself today and review Principles of Sociological Inquiry: Qualitative and Quantitative Methods by Amy Blackstone to see if its approach toward relevance, balance, and accessibility are right for your course and students.

About the Contributors


Amy Blackstone is Associate Professor and Chair of Sociology at the University of Maine. Using qualitative and quantitative methods, her research includes studies of workplace harassment, childfree adults, and activism in the breast cancer and anti-rape movements. Her work has appeared in a variety of journals and edited volumes including Gender & Society, Law & Society Review, American Sociological Review, and Journal of Contemporary Ethnography. Blackstone has served as a Consulting Editor for Contexts, the American Sociological Association’s public-interest magazine. She is currently a member of the Social Science Research Group on the University of Maine’s National Science Foundation ADVANCE grant, for which she examines faculty satisfaction and the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women faculty in particular. Blackstone enjoys her work with numerous undergraduate research assistants and student clubs. In 2011 she received the University of Maine’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Outstanding Faculty Award in Teaching/Advising. Blackstone received her Ph.D. in Sociology at the University of Minnesota and her B.A. in Sociology at Luther College.