University of Liverpool


The University of Liverpool has been a centre for methodological innovation and collaborative engagement in research since it was founded in 1881. As an NCRM centre partner, it contributes expertise in several areas: qualitative methods; quantitative methods; investigative social research methods; visual methods; geographic data science/social data science; participatory methods and collaborative working; and, at an interdisciplinary level, digital humanities and arts methods. Working with partners across the public, private and third sectors, these areas will be the focus for short courses, innovation fora and online resources of various kinds.

Senior fellow

Research interests

  • Politics, government and the state
  • Methodology and philosophy of research.

Selected publications

  • Mair, M., Sharrock, W.W. & Greiffenhagen, C. (2021) ‘Research with Numbers’, for Maynard. D. & Heritage, J. (eds.) Harold Garfinkel: Praxis, Social Order, and the Ethnomethodological Movement, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press
  • Mair, M., Brooker, B., Dutton, W. & Sormani, P. (2020) ‘Just What Are We Doing When We're Describing AI? Harvey Sacks, the Commentator Machine, and the Descriptive Politics of the New Artificial Intelligence’, Qualitative Research. DOI: 10.1177/1468794120975988
  • Mair, M., Meckin, R. & Elliot, M. (2020) ‘Innovation in Research Methods: Investigative Social Research’. Full text
  • Brooker, P., Dutton, W. & Mair, M. (2019) ‘The New Ghosts in the Machine: ‘Pragmatist’ AI and the Conceptual Perils of Anthropomorphic Description’, Ethnographic Studies, 16: 272-298. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3459327
  • Elsey, C., Mair, M., Smith, P.V. & Watson, P.G. (2016) ‘Ethnomethodology, Conversation Analysis and the Study of Action-in-Interaction in Military Settings’, pp. 180-95 in Williams, A.J, Jenkings, N., Woodward, R. & Rech, M.F. (eds.) The Routledge Companion to Military Research Methods, London: Routledge. DOI: Full text
  • Mair, M., Greiffenhagen, C. & Sharrock, W.W. (2016) ‘Putting Society on Display: Understanding and Statistical Practice’, Theory, Culture & Society, 33(3): 51-77. DOI: 10.1177/0263276414559058
  • Greiffenhagen, C., Mair, M. & Sharrock, W.W. (2015) ‘Methodological Troubles as Problem and Phenomenon: Ethnomethodology and the Question of ‘Method’ in the Social Sciences’, British Journal of Sociology, 66(3): 460-85. DOI: 10.1111/1468-4446.12136
  • Mair, M., Greiffenhagen, C. & Sharrock, W.W. (2013) ‘Social Studies of Social Science: A Working Bibliography’, NCRM Working Paper Series, No. 3219. DOI: Full text
  • Greiffenhagen, C., Mair, M. & Sharrock, W. (2012) ‘From Methodology to Methodography: A Study of Qualitative and Quantitative Reasoning in Practice’, Methodological Innovations, 6(3): 93-107. DOI: 10.4256/mio.2011.009