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.

A Life Course Approach: Autobiographical Notes

A Life Course Approach: Autobiographical Notes

Matilda WhiteRiley

My husband, in describing our joint sociological lives, often quips, “Our first publications were on contraceptive practices (reporting our 1930s national survey); then on children's mass media behavior; then on adolescent relationships to peers, parents, and grandparents; then Matilda has been working sporadically on middle and old age, while I wrestle with the complex processes of dying.” Currently, we are working collaboratively on the full life course and on the surrounding social structures, attempting to piece all ages together (e.g., Riley & Riley, 1994).

In fact, the Rileys' lives have been far less simple, and for the past four and half decades my own studies have moved in fits and starts over age as a component of both the ...

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