Qualitative Sociology

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 67–82 | Cite as

Paul Willis and the Scientific Imperative: An Evaluation of Learning to Labour

  • Danielle Bessett
  • Kate Gualtieri


This article evaluates the methodological philosophy and strategy of Paul Willis's classic, Learning to Labour. We use King, Keohane, and Verba's Designing Social Inquiry as a litmus test, showing how Willis's work meets, diverges from, and innovatively reconstructs “good social science research.” Drawing from Learning to Labour and Willis's writings on methodological issues, as well as key texts on the science of sociology, this article evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of a reflexive method and the potential this method holds for qualitative work in sociology.

ethnographic methods Paul Willis qualitative sociology 


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyNew York UniversityNew York

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