When I started my academic career I believed that social research was the most appropriate way to investigate the social world. It was only a matter of formulating the right questions, using the correct methods to find the answers and reporting the findings in an unbiased and objective manner. Then, so I thought, the world would change for the better. Every stone in the road (to borrow the term from Mary Chapin Carpenter) of my career as an academic researcher took me further away from that view, however. It was not so much a growing disillusionment with the potential and achievements of social research but rather a growing belief that there must be a better way to investigate the social world and to make significant changes for the better. I still retain some elements of that belief in the potential of social research, though its recent track record still leaves considerable room for improvement.
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