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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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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 […]

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

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 […]

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How to run a book sprint – in 16 steps

A “book sprint” is a method of writing a book collaboratively in only a short period of time, usually less than a week. Lambert Heller and Helene Brinken share insights from their own experience of facilitating a book sprint to write the Open Science Training Handbook earlier this year. Here, the process is measured out over a distance of […]

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    The overall incidence of published replication studies in economics is minuscule – greater incentives are required

The overall incidence of published replication studies in economics is minuscule – greater incentives are required

Replicability is considered a hallmark of good scientific practice, an important post-publication quality check. But how many studies are chosen for replication? Frank Mueller-Langer, Benedikt Fecher, Dietmar Harhoff, Gert G. Wagner have examined the economics literature and find that only one in one thousand publications are replication studies. The introduction of mandatory data disclosure policies may help to increase […]

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    “Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

“Interdisciplinary, like everyone else.” But are you being interdisciplinary for the wrong reasons?

Interdisciplinarity is the talk of the town. Funding agencies favour interdisciplinary research proposals, teaching programmes focus on developing interdisciplinary courses, and the publication of interdisciplinary studies has surged over recent decades. Lakshmi Balachandran Nair considers whether interdisciplinarity remains a strategy to surpass the limits of the methodological tools, theories, and views offered by a single discipline or has instead […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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    Learning to live with one another: lessons from an interdisciplinary research project

Learning to live with one another: lessons from an interdisciplinary research project

There is an increasing push from funders for researchers to undertake interdisciplinary projects. But while many want to do interdisciplinary research, few truly know quite how to. Ajoy Datta shares lessons from a recent interdisciplinary research project: understand that an ability to work well with others is as crucial as a researcher’s expertise, make time for regular collective reflection […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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. […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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

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 […]

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