* ***
Real Life Methods
Part of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods
You are here: Real Life Methods Home > Research




Publications and outputs




Real Life Methods ran from October 2005 to January 2009. This website is archived and no longer maintained. For up to date information, please see www.manchester.ac.uk/realities


Our approach

Our programme of methodological research has three defining characteristics:

Knowledge that resonates with real life

We are committed to producing social science knowledge and explanation that resonate with real life experience, rather than seeming too abstract or distanced from everyday lived reality.

Interdisciplinary working

Our approach is based on interdisciplinary collaboration, because we think that creative tension and energy comes from dialogue between disciplinary perspectives, and because we suspect that probably no one social science discipline has all the answers.

Creatively mixing methods

We are developing a creative and innovative mix of methods and approaches, because we think these are required if we are going to fully grasp and explain the different dimensions through which real life is lived. We describe our broad approach as ‘qualitatively-driven’, because it starts from some of the best principles of qualitative research. But it moves outward from these, and our research spans and transcends the qualitative/quantitative divide.

Our Research

The Real Life Methods research programme involves four specially designed multi-dimensional projects, and a programme of synergising activities that link and extend them. Each of the projects is concerned with real lives in complex worlds in the domains of family, youth and community. The projects are:

  1. Living Resemblances - exploring the meaning, impact and negotiation of family resemblances in a range of contexts.
  2. Young Lives - exploring the dynamics of young people’s relationships and spheres of influence.
  3. Connected Lives - exploring the dynamics of ‘community’ interactions through multi-dimensional neighbourhood case studies.
  4. Family Background and Everyday Life – examining the role and the concept of 'background' in the inheritance, creation and maintenance of family and interpersonal relationships in a range of everyday life contexts.