Social scientists have always recognised a divergence between approaches which emphasise the constraining power of social structure and those which interpret society through the cumulative effects of actions of individuals. In recent years there has been renewed interest in the latter through the micro-sociology of everyday life. Social scientists are w taking stock of the implications of micro-sociological research for the analysis of structure and the macro-level theory of society. In Actions and Structure the value of micro-sociological research for the analysis of social order is assessed. Individual chapters evaluate new research approaches from discourse and conversational analysis, mathematical, interactionist and phemelogical sociologies and network analysis. Throughout the authors assess how these approaches contribute to current debates around theoretical formulations of organization, structure and power.
My research interests are in criminology, socio-legal studies, social research methodology, and new technologies for social research. In criminology I have particular expertise in policing, having conducted studies of police training, police occupational culture, community and neighbourhood policing, equal opportunities in the police service, police corruption, and comparative research on international police systems. In socio-legal studies I have particular interests in the criminal courts and the experiences of lay people during the criminal trial process. My study of lay participants' experience of trials of cases of physical violence won the Socio-Legal Studies Association Hart Prize 2007 for the Best Socio-Legal Book. In social research methodology my primary expertise is in qualitative methods, particularly the practice and ethics of participant observation, the status of interview data, and software for the analysis of qualitative data, in which latter I co-direct the UK national centre for qualitative software. I also have substantial expertise in multiple-method research and methodological 'triangulation', secondary analysis of archival qualitative data, online research methods, and the application of grid and high performance computing to social research, where I have a particular interest in the use of Access Grid technology for 'virtual fieldwork'. My paper on the latter was shortlisted for the Sage Prize for Innovation and Excellence 2007. My research has been sponsored by, inter alia, the Economic and Social Research Council, the Fulbright Commission, the US Department of Defense, the Home Office, the UK Police Foundation, the US Police Foundation, Surrey Police Authority, Surrey Police, the Metropolitan Police, the Swiss Information and Documentation Service, the Deutsche Zentral Archiv, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Thales plc, Electricite de France, Volkswagen Stiftung, and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft