In the preceding chapter, we argued that an analysis of how welfare states structure women's relationship to paid work and care may represent a more comprehensive approach to examining the configuration of women's social rights across countries, than an analysis of the relationship between welfare states and either paid work or care - a strategy which as we noted, has thus far dominated the feminist welfare state regime literature. While we identified a small body of, largely emergent, research which adopts the former approach, we also pointed to both its conceptual and its empirical limitations. We thus, concluded that there remains further work to be done if we are to achieve a fuller understanding of how welfare states structure women's relationship to paid work and care with a view to assessing the quality of social rights for women across welfare states. The present study was designed to contribute to that task. The study adopts lone mothers as a case study. We begin the chapter, therefore, by defining what is meant by the term 'lone mother'. In the second section, we explain why lone mothers represent a useful analytical category in the examination of the configuration of social rights around paid work and care. We then move on in the third section of the chapter to define more fully the aims and

objectives of the research, to outline the scope, especially in relation to the policy areas examined, of the study, and to present the methods utilised to undertake the research. The fourth and final section assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the research design.