This chapter introduces the book by looking at the role of the researcher and examining the skills and characteristics that make a good one. It discusses the various reasons for doing research and includes a comparison of insider and outsider research. Some of the issues that can arise in managing or commissioning research are explored, such as establishing research aims, identifying suitable methods and methodology, allocating resources and project communication. There is a short discussion of the terminology used in the book and more generally in the field of social research. An overview of the changes introduced in this third edition is provided and the chapter concludes with an outline of the book, an introduction to the two case studies that run through the book, plus exercises, discussion questions and a debate topic.
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