This introductory chapter is written for beginning researchers, whether in movements or universities, for people from non-traditional academic backgrounds and non-native English speakers. We share some of our own complicated and messy routes to movement research. We also explain why researching social movements matters, and how it can genuinely help movements. This is the first methods handbook for movement researchers that takes a genuinely global perspective, rather than focussing on researchers and movements in the global North. Understanding movements means not being restricted to knowing about one movement or one academic discipline. The chapter introduces the book’s themes - the methodologies and politics of knowledge of movement research; different methods of data collection/analysis; and the uses of research for movements - followed by a chapter-by-chapter overview, highlighting the specific movements studied. The chapter concludes with reflections on the future of social movements research and a call for solidarity.

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