Category: research methods

Sandpits can develop cross-disciplinary projects, but funders need to be as open-minded as researchers

The research “sandpit”, where a cross-disciplinary group of academics and practitioners come together for a short time to create new projects around a given theme, is gaining ground as a way to foster innovation and creativity in research design. While sandpits can spark ideas for novel projects better suited to tackling grand challenges and urgent questions, research from Kate Maxwell, […]

It is advisor attitudes that are likely to shape students’ attitudes towards questionable research practices

In debates on the validity of academic research findings, focus has been drawn to so-called questionable research practices, commonly understood to encompass a laundry list of behaviours that can increase the likelihood of statistically significant (and so more publishable) results. Anand Krishna and Sebastian M. Peter report on research examining attitudes to questionable research practices among students who have recently […]

Replication is both possible and desirable in the humanities, just as it is in the sciences

Some scholars have claimed that replication – the independent repetition of an earlier study, answering the same study question, using the same or similar methods under the same or similar circumstances – is not possible in the humanities. The reasoning is that the humanities search for cultural meaning can yield multiple valid answers, and that research objects are people and […]

Nothing lasts forever: questions to ask yourself when choosing a new tool or technology for research

Academia has become increasingly reliant on third-party tools and technologies to carry out many of the processes throughout the research lifecycle. But there are genuine concerns about the sustainability of some of these tools and what the implications would be for users in the event they were discontinued. Andy Tattersall suggests a series of straightforward questions researchers should ask themselves […]

Book Review: Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age by Matthew J. Salganik

In Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, Matthew J. Salganik explores the process of undertaking social research in the digital era, examining a wide range of concepts while also offering teaching activities and materials. In bringing together the expertise of social and data scientists to the benefit of both, this is a comprehensive overview of new approaches to social research […]

Contrary to common belief, randomised controlled trials inevitably produce biased results

Much of the social and medical sciences depend on randomised control trials. But while this may be considered the foundational experimental method, a certain degree of bias inevitably arises in any trial; whether this is sample bias, selection bias, or measurement bias. This is important as the level of validity of a trial’s causal claims can be a matter of […]

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 […]