First published in 1975, this classic work is a unique introduction to the epistemology and practice of social science. For the non-sociologist it provides an exposition and critique of the ideology and practice of social science, and an examination of the professional social scientist as a manipulator of ideas and appearances; his claims to expertise are exposed, and some rules for judging dialogues about social science "evidence" are suggested. The work is also a valuable, basic methodology text or, more precisely, an anti-text. It provides the practising researcher with a concise manual of elementary research procedures and techniques, accompanied by a series of practical hints. On yet another level, this may be read as an allegorical fairy tale. It is the story of the rise and fall of a curious alpine civilization and of the fortunes of the devotees of a strange cult of mountaineering heroes, who, even now, are regrouping for a new assault on the summit.