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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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    An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

An idea to promote research integrity: adding badges to papers where the authors fought against the results being suppressed or sanitised

Just as some journals support open science by adding badges to those research papers for which the authors have shared the data, Adrian Barnett suggests journals might similarly recognise those authors who uphold research integrity by publishing their results despite attempts at suppression or sanitisation. To do so would require evidence of the attempted suppression but ultimately draw attention […]

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

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, […]

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    False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

False investigators and coercive citation are widespread in academic research

A recent study has revealed widespread unethical behaviour in academic research. Allen Wilhite focuses on two activities in particular; the addition to funding proposals of investigators not expected to contribute to the research, and editors who coerce authors to add citations to manuscripts even though those citations were not part of the scholars’ reference material. Research institutions, funders, rankings bodies, and […]

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    Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

Ever wondered why practitioners treat researchers like a nuisance? The challenges of accessing expert knowledge, from both perspectives

The difficulty of reaching practitioners and experts is one of the main challenges faced by early-career researchers in particular, and one that can overshadow fieldwork experiences and attempts to produce new knowledge. While researchers might feel that they are being ignored or treated as a nuisance by experts, the latter often have a different view of researchers’ attempt to […]

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    Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

Five lessons for researchers who want to collaborate with governments and development organisations but avoid the common pitfalls

The appeal of collaborating with a government agency, or an organisation funded by one, seems obvious. It provides researchers with much needed resources and information, while also offering practitioners and policymakers a way of generating the evidence needed to design better programmes. In practice, however, it’s not always easy to make collaborative research work well. Susan Dodsworth and Nic […]

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    Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

Book Review: Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing edited by Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean

In Crumpled Paper Boat: Experiments in Ethnographic Writing, editors Anand Pandian and Stuart McLean offer a collection that seeks to open up the possibilities for ethnographic research by approaching writing as a “material adventure”. As the volume grapples with longstanding questions regarding the ethical challenges of capturing one’s subjects in language, Fawzia Haeri Mazanderani nonetheless finds this a moving reminder of the power of words to enable entry […]

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    Book Review: Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide (2nd Ed.) by Helen Kara

Book Review: Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide (2nd Ed.) by Helen Kara

In this new second edition of Research and Evaluation for Busy Students and Practitioners: A Time-Saving Guide, Helen Kara offers a book for students, researchers and practitioners looking to manage their time effectively and maintain a good work-life balance whilst undertaking methodologically and ethically robust social research and evaluation projects. This is a well-written and clear guide that will trigger self-reflection and boost […]

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    Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

Minor, substantial or wholesale amendments: it’s time to rethink changes to published articles and avoid unnecessary stigma

The present system of labelling changes made to published articles is confusing, inconsistently applied, and out of step with digital publishing. It carries negative connotations for authors, editors, and publishers. Is there a way to efficiently and neutrally flag a change to a published article in a way that says what happened that is separated from why it happened? […]

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    With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

With great power comes great responsibility: crowdsourcing raises methodological and ethical questions for academia

Crowdsourcing offers researchers ready access to large numbers of participants, while enabling the processing of huge, unique datasets. However, the power of crowdsourcing raises several issues, including whether or not what initially emerged as a business practice can be transformed into a sound research method. Isabell Stamm and Lina Eklund argue that the complexities of managing large numbers of […]

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    University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

University students are buying assignments – what could, or should, be done about it?

‘Contract cheating’, whereby students pay companies to complete assignments on their behalf, threatens to seriously undermine higher education standards. Philip M. Newton and Michael J. Draper consider what might be done to tackle this issue, including the Quality Assurance Agency’s suggestion of deploying the UK Fraud Act (2006). While questions remains as to whether the Fraud Act is likely […]

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    Manipulating the peer review process: why it happens and how it might be prevented

Manipulating the peer review process: why it happens and how it might be prevented

Peer review continues to be upheld as the best way to evaluate academic research ahead of publication. Yet the peer review process has been consistently targeted and manipulated by authors, reviewers and even editors. Sneha Kulkarni reveals how this is happening and what might be done to prevent it, considering the merits of different peer review models but also […]

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    Considering the monstrous in digital methods can inform researchers’ ethical decision making

Considering the monstrous in digital methods can inform researchers’ ethical decision making

Monsters stop people in their tracks, make us (re)consider the route we are taking. Consideration of imagined horror is a useful ethical tool for those who use digital methods. In this Halloween-themed post, Naomi Barnes provides historical and literary examples of the association between horror and information technology, challenging users of digital methods to consider whether their practices are […]

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October 31st, 2016|Research ethics|2 Comments|
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    Collecting data using crowdsourcing marketplaces raises ethical questions for academic researchers

Collecting data using crowdsourcing marketplaces raises ethical questions for academic researchers

The need for larger sample sizes and ready access to a diverse group of participants has seen many researchers turn to crowdsourcing platforms such as MTurk for their data collections. However, Ilka Gleibs argues that the ethical implications of using crowdsourcing marketplaces demand further attention. To safeguard academic progress and public trust in research it is imperative that we […]

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    The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

The potential of big data and new technologies in human rights research

In legal studies, discussion of new technologies has often focused on the risks to privacy and data protection. Mariana Gkliati outlines how such technologies may be seen not only as Orwellian threats but also as opportunities for human rights research. Some advances have already been made and there remains much to learn from other fields. However, to build on […]

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September 30th, 2016|Big data, Research ethics|0 Comments|
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    Blogging platforms are not neutral: Challenging the underlying assumptions of our technology.

Blogging platforms are not neutral: Challenging the underlying assumptions of our technology.

As a farewell post on her last day working on the LSE Impact Blog, Sierra Williams reflects on her time as editor and her relationship with the platform. Drawing on Neil Postman’s critique of technology, she looks at some of the assumptions that underpin the blog and argues a bit of ‘technological modesty’ is required to get a better […]

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    Book Review: Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements edited by Lisette Josephides

Book Review: Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements edited by Lisette Josephides

Inspired by the work of British anthropologist Marilyn Strathern, Knowledge and Ethics in Anthropology: Obligations and Requirements, edited by Lisette Josephides, presents a collection of essays that examines epistemological and ethical questions relevant to the field of anthropology today, including the ethics of being with others in the world and the relationship between the local and the global. This book […]

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    Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci

Evidence and innovation in humanitarian assistance: ‘Conference without Borders’ to address Syrian conflict #MSFSci

The MSF Scientific Days are a round of conferences looking at how humanitarian action can be improved by scientific research and innovation. On behalf of the organisers, Sarah Venis presents an overview. This year will feature a strong focus on the effects of the Syrian conflict and the resultant refugee and migration crisis. Another theme will also look at how […]

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