Principles of Sociological Inquiry – Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

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.


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 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.