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How to Conduct a Practice-based Study

Problems and Methods Silvia Gherardi, University of Trento, Italy
The practice-based approach to the study of work and organizing has been widely adopted in recent years, yet its theoretical and methodological systematization has only just begun. Silvia Gherardi expertly provides an overview on the topics and issues addressed by practice-based studies. By means of a series of examples drawn from the best-known analyses using this approach, the book provides methodological guidance on how to conduct empirical research on practices, and how to interpret them from three perspectives: practices ‘from outside’ practices ‘from inside’, and the social effects produced by practices.
Extent: 256 pp
Hardback Price: $120.00 Web: $108.00
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978 0 85793 337 9
Availability: In Stock
Paperback Price: $39.95 Web: $31.96
Publication Date: 2014
ISBN: 978 1 78195 164 4
Availability: In Stock
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  • Business and Management
  • Organisation Studies
  • Research Methods in Business and Management
  • Research Methods
  • Research Methods in Business and Management
  • Research Methods
The practice-based approach to the study of work and organizing has been widely adopted in recent years, yet its theoretical and methodological systematization has only just begun. Silvia Gherardi expertly provides an overview on the topics and issues addressed by practice-based studies. By means of a series of examples drawn from the best-known analyses using this approach, the book provides methodological guidance on how to conduct empirical research on practices, and how to interpret them from three perspectives: practices ‘from outside’ practices ‘from inside’, and the social effects produced by practices.

The distinctive trait of this book is the presentation of the classic studies that gave rise to the practice-based approach, and through their analysis the illustration of their problems and methods is presented. Masters students, doctoral students and scholars will find plenty of invaluable information in this methodological book. In relation to a lively and wide-ranging debate conducted at the international level, but not yet systematized in its methodological assumptions, the book will also be of interest to those practitioners curious about a view of work as a practical activity which develops within an ecology of social, economic and material relationships.
‘This book is a very commendable resource for all researchers
interested in practice-based studies. It makes essential reading for all those who too often claim to engage in practice-based work without considering the intellectual and methodological roots of the field. This work is therefore far more than a methodological handbook; it makes readers aware of the rich intellectual traditions from which practice-based studies have originated, which have important consequences for the way we understand and study practices.’
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‘The variety of approaches that claim to constitute practice-based research are several and varied. Silvia Gherardi cuts through the various approaches to address practice-based research as itself a practice in an invaluable guide for organization and management researchers. Written in a characteristically accessible style, this volume is an indispensable guide.’
– Stewart Clegg, University of Technology Business School, Sydney, Australia
Contents: Introduction 1. How Ordinary Work is Practically Accomplished 2. Working in Coordination Centres 3. Sensible Knowledge and Knowledgeable Bodies 4. Sociomaterial Practices and Technological Environments 5. Learning to Talk in Practice and About Practice 6. On Rules, on Knowing the Rules and on Ordinary Prescription 7. Representing the Textures of Practices 8. Ethnography for the Practice-based Design of Information Systems 9. Towards a Practice Theory of Organizing Bibliography Index