What are the most effective methods for doing life course research? The field's founders and leaders answer this question, giving readers tips on: the art and method of the appropriate research design; the collection of life-history data; and the search for meaningful patterns to be found in the results.

The Life Course Mode of Inquiry


The following chapters in Part I of this book ask the question of how the life course perspective came into being. Together, they suggest several general principles to guide life course research, in particular, a bidirectional focus on social change as studied through life events and transition rates of particular individuals and groups. Questions ask how certain individuals have been affected by social change and also how the life course situations of some groups actually help to produce social change.

In Chapter 1, Janet Z. Giele and Glen H. Elder trace the confluence of four streams of social science inquiry following World War II that helped to create the life course field. Historical studies in both Europe and America became ...

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