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    ‘Big data’ from online market interactions offer a rich opportunity to study human nature and economic behaviour.

‘Big data’ from online market interactions offer a rich opportunity to study human nature and economic behaviour.

Data on the interactions between individuals on the Internet are often viewed as a potential threat to privacy or freedom of expression. As Wojtek Przepiorka writes, however, the ‘big data’ produced by online transactions and feedback processes on websites such as eBay can also be an invaluable resource for academics and policy-makers. He argues that subjecting this data to formal study […]

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    Book Review: Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student’s Guide, 2nd Edition, by Rose Barbour

Book Review: Introducing Qualitative Research: A Student’s Guide, 2nd Edition, by Rose Barbour

In this book, Rose Barbour sets out to provide a clear, user-friendly introduction to the craft of doing qualitative research. The author’s writing style and the inclusion of numerous anecdotes from her own research, simultaneously demystify qualitative research whilst reiterating the expertise and skill which researchers must possess, writes Christina Dobson. Christina recommends this book to anyone undertaking qualitative research, postgraduate students in particular.

This review originally […]

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    What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

What do policymakers want from researchers? Blogs, elevator pitches and good old fashioned press mentions.

Duncan Green provides short and sweet translations of some of the key findings from a recent survey looking at how US policymakers use and value international studies research. The findings point to the importance of blogging, but also to the sustained influence of traditional print media. The future of evidence-informed networks may require a more engaged look at what policymakers […]

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The death of the theorist and the emergence of data and algorithms in digital social research.

Computer software and data-processing algorithms are becoming an everyday part of Higher Education. How might this be affecting research in the social sciences and the formation of the professional identities of academics? Ben Williamson argues that these are important challenges for social science researchers in HE, asking us to consider how digital devices and infrastructures might be shaping our professional […]

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The case for greater transparency in experimental and social science research

Proving public value can be an especially difficult task when high-profile cases of fraud in social science disciplines emerge. Rose McDermott makes the case for greater transparency in both the production and review of social science to restore the legitimacy of the scientific endeavour. While no one practice can eliminate fraud, greater transparency can make it both more difficult to […]

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The sociology of (anti)science: How the social sciences can improve public trust in scientific evidence

More public discussion on science alone is unlikely to convince people to productively engage in scientific discussions. Zuleyka Zevallos explores the sociology of beliefs, values and attitudes and calls for wider reflexive critical thinking on how scientists understand science and the public. The social sciences in particular are well-poised to improve the public’s trust in science as they are focused on the influence […]

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The evolution of social networking sites: the rise of content-centric platforms which favour the perpetual present.

Socio-technical trends and their underlying theoretical perspectives shed light on likely developments in store for mediated communication. Vyacheslav Polonski finds that in the coming years, new design norms will overhaul current metaphors, marking a shift from profile-centric to content-centric interactions. In the increasingly ephemeral live-streams of receiving and broadcasting information, Polonski predicts we will be able to transcend the stale antinomy of […]

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Tools for thinking about an increasingly complex world

Before his death in 1975, scientist and philosopher Conrad Hal Waddington wrote two popular science books on the complexity of the problems facing Earth. Brigitte Nerlich revisits these works and finds Waddington’s interdisciplinary approach to science communication still highly relevant today, particularly for people grappling with the limits of science for understanding and responding to issues such as climate change. A few […]

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Book Review: Q-Squared: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches in Poverty Analysis

This book aims to examine the underlying assumptions and implications of how we conceptualise and investigate poverty. Paul Shaffer’s book will no doubt be essential reading for poverty analysts but it could also prove a very useful guide to understanding the relationship between theoretical epistemological foundations and practical research methods and design, writes Steven Harkins.  This originally appeared on LSE Review of […]

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There is sufficient evidence to suggest Whitehall is leaning on researchers to produce politically useful research.

The quality of scientific evidence in government heavily depends upon the independent assessment of research. Pressure from those commissioning the research may pose a threat to scientific integrity and rigorous policy-making. Edward Page reports that whilst there is strong evidence of government leaning, this leaning appears to have little systematic impact on the nature of the conclusions that researchers reach due to the presence […]

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Book Review: Doing Qualitative Research: A Practical Handbook

In the fourth edition of his best-selling textbook, David Silverman provides a step-by-step guide to planning and conducting qualitative research. Using real examples from real postgraduate students, the book aims to make it easy to link theory to methods and shows how to move from understanding the principles of qualitative research to doing it yourself. This book will be of great use to […]

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Book Review: Research for Development: A Practical Guide

Research for Development offers a comprehensive guide to commissioning, managing and undertaking research in development work. Chandni Singh finds that this is a very useful book for students of development research and teachers looking for a robust and engaging teaching tool. Detailed case studies and examples from around the world help bring the guide to life. Research for Development: A Practical Guide. Second Edition. […]

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Book Review: Constructing Research Questions: Doing Interesting Research

Traditional textbooks on research methods tend to ignore, or gloss over, how research questions are constructed. In this text, Mats Alvesson & Jorgen Sandberg seek to challenge researchers to look past the easy or obvious choices and create more interesting and rewarding questions. Joanna Lenihan feels that this is potentially a valuable and practical tool for researchers and could be integrated into […]

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World Social Science Forum: Building a global platform for social sciences in the digital age.

Next week, social scientists from around the world will gather to discuss how digital landscapes are shaping social experiences, inside and outside academia. The International Social Science Council looks forward to hosting a range of interdisciplinary panels on social transformation, the digital human, and knowledge translation. On the 13th October in Montréal, the International Social Science Council will convene the World […]

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The CPS claims that the BBC has a left-of-centre bias in its coverage of Think Tanks, but closer analysis shows that it is much more even handed

With the next BBC Charter Review not too far off, public and political opinion about the broadcaster is going to be increasingly important. The recent CPS report “proving” bias at the BBC got substantial media exposure, yet Gordon Ramsay of the Media Standards Trust argues that in replication the report’s findings don’t stand up. A fortnight ago, the Centre for Policy Studies […]

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Is it time to ban the term ‘dissemination’?

Research communications may be moving into a new era but the language used to describe these concepts in many cases has not. Caroline Cassidy points out the failings of the word ‘dissemination’ in supporting the far more nuanced process now necessary for effective and influential research uptake. Better language is needed to move beyond basic box-ticking to take advantage of […]

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The ‘Call for Participants’ platform connects researchers with participants so as to improve the efficiency and accuracy of research trials.

Callforparticipants.com is a free online tool designed to address the many challenges faced by researchers in finding appropriate sample sizes for trials as well as helping participants looking to get more involved. Matthew Terrell and Martin Kruusimägi provide an overview of the platform, identifying how trust, security and transparency are necessary to ensure the tool’s lasting success. About six months into my PhD […]

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The opaque review process of the National Curriculum has failed to engage experts and evidence

From its inception in 1991, the National Curriculum has been subject to many government reviews, conducted through largely clear and open frameworks, inclusive to the diverse range of expert voices. Ben Walsh charts the progression of the current review under Michael Gove and remains highly critical of the review’s findings given the contradictory advice provided by the Expert Panel and […]

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Life in the ‘Alpha Territory’: investigating London’s ‘Super-Rich’ Neighbourhoods

The lives of the ‘super-rich’ are often subject to media scrutiny but have rarely been examined by social scientists in any detail. Roger Burrows explains how a new project intends to rectify this, through an interdisciplinary study of elite enclaves within London.  This was originally published on the British Politics and Policy (BPP) blog With few exceptions, the very wealthy have not been […]

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This work by LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported.