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The examples of sociological research provided throughout this text come from a variety of positions on the basic-public-applied continuum presented in Chapter 1 "Introduction". Some examples came from scholarly, peer-reviewed journal articles, others from public-interest magazines, and others from applied settings. Nevertheless, students sometimes walk away from a research course wondering how any of what they’ve learned applies to their lives today and to their future plans. In this, the final chapter, we explore that question. We’ll consider the variety of locations where research might crop up in your “real-world” life. For some, research might be a career. For others, perhaps research will provide a means to become engaged in social change efforts. For all of us, I hope that public sociology will present itself from time to time, perhaps in our reading, our web surfing, our television viewing, or our conversations with others. At the end of this chapter, we’ll remind ourselves of some of the answers to the “why should I care” question that we addressed at the beginning of this text. I hope that by now you have your own ideas about how you might answer that question but I’ll nevertheless remind you of the answers that we’ve already covered and provide a few others that perhaps hadn’t occurred to you.
In this chapter, we’ll revisit the ever-important “why should I care?” question.