The Sociology of Near Misses: A Methodological Framework For Studying Events That ‘Almost Happened’

Garry Gray


Near miss research shifts the conceptual focus away from the negative outcome of events to the study of everyday close calls and represents an alternative pathway into knowledge production. The discipline of sociology is well suited for the study of near misses given its focus on social context, social meanings, and analyzing social interactions and patterns of group behaviour. This article discusses the challenges that researchers will face when conducting near miss research as well as different near miss data collection strategies. A comparison of two unique near miss data sets, on the same population, is also provided in order to illustrate that different methodologies capture different types of near miss information. Near misses represent an untapped area of research not yet fully explored by sociologists and social scientists.


Near Misses; Methodology; Data Collection; Accidents; Uncertainty; Risk

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