Evidence by Howard S. BeckerEvidence by Howard S. Becker


byHoward S. Becker

Paperback | July 10, 2017

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 141 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


Howard S. Becker is a master of his discipline. His reputation as a teacher, as well as a sociologist, is supported by his best-selling quartet of sociological guidebooks: Writing for Social Scientists, Tricks of the Trade, Telling About Society, and What About Mozart? What About Murder? It turns out that the master sociologist has yet one more trick up his sleeve—a fifth guidebook, Evidence.

Becker has for seventy years been mulling over the problem of evidence. He argues that social scientists don’t take questions about the usefulness of their data as evidence for their ideas seriously enough. For example, researchers have long used the occupation of a person’s father as evidence of the family’s social class, but studies have shown this to be a flawed measure—for one thing, a lot of people answer that question too vaguely to make the reasoning plausible. The book is filled with examples like this, and Becker uses them to expose a series of errors, suggesting ways to avoid them, or even to turn them into research topics in their own right. He argues strongly that because no data-gathering method produces totally reliable information, a big part of the research job consists of getting rid of error. Readers will find Becker’s newest guidebook a valuable tool, useful for social scientists of every variety.
Howard S. Becker is the author of several books, including Writing for Social Scientists, Telling About Society, Tricks of the Trade, and, most recently, What About Mozart? What About Murder? He lives and works in San Francisco.
Title:EvidenceFormat:PaperbackDimensions:240 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.9 inPublished:July 10, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022646637X

ISBN - 13:9780226466378

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


Part 1. What It’s All About: Data, Evidence, and Ideas
1. Models of Inquiry: Some Historical Background
2. Ideas, Opinions, and Evidence
3. How the Natural Scientists Do It

Part 2. Who Collects the Data and How Do They Do It?
4. Censuses
5. Data Gathered by Government Employees to Document Their Work
6. Hired Hands and Nonscientist Data Gatherers
7. Chief Investigators and Their Helpers
8. Inaccuracies in Qualitative Research

Afterword: Final Thoughts

Editorial Reviews

“With Evidence, Becker has written another must-read book for students and experienced sociologists, as well as also for all of those who do not yet understand how and why the sociology is a real science.”