Category: research methods

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used in […]

Four reasons to graphically illustrate your research

Academic writing is often criticised for being overly complicated and impenetrable to anyone outside of a small circle of experts. In this post Gemma Sou reflects on how communicating her research in the form of a graphic novel transformed her research practice. Not only making her research more representative and accessible to those involved, but also through reshaping her research […]

Book Review: Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology edited by D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow and Kristen Schilt

In Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology, editors D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow and Kristen Schilt bring together contributors to reflect on the challenges and rewards of developing and conducting queer research while also questioning the traditional epistemological, methodological and political commitments of sociology. This is an engaging and vital book that provides methodological advice and practical strategies for undertaking queer research, writes Catalina Martin.  This post […]

The death of the literature review and the rise of the dynamic knowledge map

Almost every academic article starts with a literature review. However, although these short research summaries can be beneficial, as discussed in previous posts on the LSE Impact Blog, they also introduce opportunities for unverifiable misrepresentation and self-aggrandizement. In this post Gorgi Krlev proposes that short of abolishing them, or aiming for complete standardization of literature reviews, researchers in the social […]

Big Qual – Why we should be thinking big about qualitative data for research, teaching and policy

When social scientists think about big data, they often think in terms of quantitative number crunching. However, the growing availability of ‘big’ qualitative datasets presents new opportunities for qualitative research. In this post, Lynn Jamieson and Sarah Lewthwaite explore how ‘big qual’ can be deployed as a distinct research methodology to develop new forms of qualitative research and elucidate complex interactions […]

Invisible impact and insecure academics: structural barriers to engagement and why we should do it anyway

Participatory Action Research (PAR) is a form of research that involves prolonged and deep engagement with local communities and can produce profound social impacts. In this post, Dr Katrina Raynor describes how current approaches to impact assessment and the structure of the academic labour market impede researchers from engaging with PAR and raise particular challenges for insecurely employed early career […]

Book Review: Doing Realist Research edited by Nick Emmel, Joanne Greenhalgh, Anna Manzano, Mark Monaghan and Sonia Dalkin

In Doing Realist Research, Nick Emmel, Joanne Greenhalgh, Anna Manzano, Mark Monaghan and Sonia Dalkin draw on the expertise of key specialists who push the boundaries of traditional research approaches to advocate for a more thoughtful and critical application of realist methodologies. This book will support researchers across disciplines to challenge the rigidity of established practice, writes Andreea Moise, and makes a compelling case for integrating aspects of realism or conducting […]

How games can help us to understand how people make decisions and support policy development that takes better account of field realities

Games are increasingly used in research and development projects, often bringing elements of play into real life in order to deliver insights into decision-making processes. Claude Garcia describes how real life can be taken into the world of games, facilitating players to take better decisions by themselves, and how doing so can support policy development, helping to draft policy that […]

Let’s focus on the research process, not the outputs

The outsized importance of publications has meant too many research students focus on featuring papers in prestigous journals, despite having success in doing so feeling like something of a lottery. To Mattias Björnmalm, a strong focus on the research output instead of the research process is detrimental to research itself. Research is about increasing our understanding of the world and […]

Greater than the sum of its parts: why the GCRF Interdisciplinary Research Hubs should adopt a programme approach to research design and management

Awards for the GCRF Interdisciplinary Research Hubs will soon be announced. Each of these Hubs will inevitably have to balance the different imperatives of research excellence, development impact, and collaborative processes. To improve their chances of being successful in doing so, Valeria Izzi and Becky Murray suggest that each Hub must set out with the explicit intention of being greater […]