Category: research methods

To save the research literature, let’s make literature reviews reproducible

Last week the Impact Blog featured a post from Richard P. Phelps, in which he proposed that journals get rid of their requirement for a literature review. Arnaud Vaganay agrees with much of what Phelps said, literature reviews are erratic and self-serving, but suggests doing away with them altogether is likely to make science less efficient and less credible. Instead, […]

How eyes in the sky can cut survey costs and enable researchers to identify key but hard-to-reach populations

Collecting representative survey data on large populations of people can be a very time-consuming and expensive undertaking. But it doesn’t have to be; Marco J. Haenssgen and Ern Charoenboon explain how they have used freely available satellite images to survey hard-to-reach communities in Thailand and Laos. Countries all around the world are thinking about how to tackle the growing problem […]

Book Review: Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo

The collection Cultivating Creativity in Methodology and Research: In Praise of Detours, edited by Charlotte Wegener, Ninna Meier and Elina Maslo, is comprised of short essays that offer imaginative detours from conventional academic wisdom to reflect on lived experiences of research. While the volume at times risks emphasising the unhappy aspects of academic life over and above the potential for creativity, […]

Materiality of Research: can imaginative projects complement (and not displace) more critical research?

Can projects of reimagining complement more critical research? Writing in response to comments on her recent work on reimagining the state, Davina Cooper addresses the challenge of developing transformative methods, the value of institutional play in academic research and the relationship these may have to more overtly “critical” accounts. This version of this post first appeared on LSE Review of Books and is […]

Software updates: the “unknown unknown” of the replication crisis

The replication crisis is largely concerned with known problems, such as the lack of replication standards, non-availability of data, or p-hacking. One hitherto unknown problem is the potential for software companies’ changes to the algorithms used for calculations to cause discrepancies between two sets of reported results. Anastasia Ershova and Gerald Schneider encountered this very problem in the course of […]

Diary of an app! Will using mobile devices in qualitative research become the norm?

Researchers have been asking participants to record their experiences and thoughts in traditional, paper-based diaries for many years. But the advent of digital technologies, especially apps for mobile devices, has encouraged some to ask whether these could become the new norm for capturing diary-based data for qualitative research. Laura Radcliffe and Leighann Spencer have pioneered the use of diary apps […]

What a fossil revolution reveals about the history of “big data”

Improved technologies have allowed faster and more powerful statistical analysis and changed how we “see” data. It’s now taken for granted that the best way to understand large, complex phenomena is by crunching the numbers via computers and projecting the results as visual summaries. To David Sepkoski, that’s not a bad thing, but it does pose some challenges. The complexity […]

How people feel about what companies do with their data is just as important as what they know about it

The recent revelation that Cambridge Analytica was able to acquire the Facebook data of 50 million people has led to a surge of interest and questions around what companies do with people’s data. Amidst all of this, little attention has been paid to the feelings of those whose data are used, shared, and acted upon. According to Helen Kennedy, more […]

statcheck – a spellchecker for statistics

A study has revealed a high prevalence of inconsistencies in reported statistical test results. Such inconsistencies make results unreliable, as they become “irreproducible”, and ultimately affect the level of trust in scientific reporting. statcheck is a free, open-source tool that automatically extracts reported statistical results from papers and recalculates p-values. Following an investigation into its accuracy, Michèle B. Nuijten finds […]

More room for greater depth and detail: implications for academic research of Twitter’s expanded character limit

Twitter makes its data available in real-time and at no cost, making it a popular data source for many academic researchers. Wasim Ahmed discusses some of the implications of the decision to expand the character limit from 140 to 280. Greater space makes for greater depth and detail, addressing the difficulties of interpretation that 140-character tweets would sometimes present. However, […]