Review by Zachary Spicer, a PhD Candidate at The University of Western Ontario: Kevin Ward, Researching the city: A guide for students (2013), Sage Publishing.
Over the past decade, urban research and the study of cities have increasingly become inter-disciplinary in focus, now claimed as the domain of geographers, political scientists, economists, historians, anthropologists and sociologists. Departments of urban studies have popped up at dozens, if not hundreds, of universities worldwide. Urban studies journals attract hundreds of quality submissions every year and thousands of readers, while urban studies associations are amongst the fastest growing academic groups. Needless the say, the city is now not only a unit of analysis, but the focus of an emerging discipline. With the growing interest in urban studies, it is time that students hoping to study the city receive a proper methodological primer. Kevin Ward’s edited volume, Researching the City, seeks to do just that.
Researching the City is an interesting and useful tool for students hoping to conduct quality research on urban phenomena. Ward’s volume is intended to help students at the dissertation stage and essentially lays out the purpose, direction and expected outcomes, along with the advantages and disadvantages, methodological approaches. He focuses on eight different approaches: archival research, interviews, ethnography, questionnaires, linguistic and discourse analysis, diary research, GIS and photography and video work. In each chapter, the authors carefully outline how each approach has been used, how they are designed and what one might expect in terms of results. In several chapters the authors draw from past work and personal experience and very candidly demonstrate methodological intricacies that may not be detailed elsewhere.
Read the full text of the review on LSE Book reviews