Portraiture is a method of social science inquiry distinctive in its blending of art and science, capturing the complexity, dynamics, and subtlety of human experience and organizational life.
Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot has pioneered this method using it to document the culture of institutions, the life stories of individuals, stages of human development, essential relationships, processes, and concepts.
The seminal text The Art and Science of Portraiture illuminates the origins, purposes, and features of this method, placing it within the larger discourse on social science inquiry and mapping it onto the broader terrain of qualitative research. It delineates the processes, methods, and strategies of research design, data collection, and analysis, and underscores the balance of structure and improvisation as well as order and creativity. This landmark contribution to the field of research methodology is an indispensable resource for the social scientist and provides general readers with new and illuminating ways of viewing the world.