This half-day course will be a collaborative exploration of the advantages and challenges of using case studies in research methods, in the form of a reading group seminar.
The main reading assignment will be the most recent book by sociologist and renowned methodologist Howard Becker, What about Mozart? What about Murder? Using this book as a common basis, we will discuss Becker’s arguments and reasoning in his approach to case studies, along with the experiences and concerns of course participants.
The seminar will be led by Alan Latham, Senior Lecturer in Geography at University College London and Visiting Professor in Wageningen at the Cultural Geography Group. In parallel with Becker, Dr Latham’s research seeks to document and interrogate everyday life in ordinary contexts, where case studies of seemingly narrow scope can elucidate dynamics of much broader forces. As an expert on Becker and a social scientist who has published his own influential methodological papers (the diary-interview method, for example), Dr Latham is both a student and an expert alongside course participants in exploring the potentials and problems of case study methodology.