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.

Life Course Research: Development of a Field

Life Course Research: Development of a Field

Janet Z.Giele
Glen H.ElderJr.

One of the most vital new arenas of social science research since World War II has been the impact of massive social change on people's lives. The American Soldier documented the positive impact of racially integrated fighting units on racial attitudes of white soldiers (Stouffer, Suchman, DeVinney, Star, & Williams, 1949). The Authoritarian Personality suggested the different types of child rearing and socialization that bred rigid and punitive attitudes (Adorno, Frenkel-Brunswik, Levinson, & Sanford, 1950). Erikson's (1950) Childhood and Society and later works (Erikson, 1958, 1969) asked what cultural and psychological factors made persons such as Hitler, Luther, and Gandhi the leaders of giant movements for social change. Since then, tremendous advances have occurred in the ...

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