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.

Data Organization and Conceptualization

Data Organization and Conceptualization


This chapter discusses practical and conceptual issues related to the organization and management of life history data. We describe the evolution of our approach to life course data issues and relate some of the practical issues encountered in working with such data. Illustrations are drawn from the work we have undertaken in two studies: the Johns Hopkins Retrospective Life History Study of American Men (1969) and the Casalecchio Project (1989), a historical study of demographic change in an Italian community in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These two data sources provide examples of some common, as well as unique, difficulties encountered in the organization and management of life course data. After discussing the issues in these two studies and ...

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