Professors Currie and Skolnick place special emphasis on the underlying economic causes of social problems and the social policies that fail to address them. The text's research-oriented approach introduces students to the empirical aspects of sociology by discussing how research is done and how data is compiled and analyzed. A comparative perspective on major topics exposes students to American social problems in context to other nations. This edition provides in-depth coverage of current social and political issues, such as downsizing, the growing gap between the rich and the poor, and the crisis in health care.