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    The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The human element – why randomised control trials need mixed methods approaches

The applicability of Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to the social sciences has been widely questioned. However, assessing the effectiveness of RCTs, in practice has proved difficult. In this post, Naila Kabeer reflects on her recent research into randomised control trials utilised as part of a programme to alleviate poverty in West Bengal and highlights how, when RCTs are used […]

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Four reasons to graphically illustrate your research

Academic writing is often criticised for being overly complicated and impenetrable to anyone outside of a small circle of experts. In this post Gemma Sou reflects on how communicating her research in the form of a graphic novel transformed her research practice. Not only making her research more representative and accessible to those involved, but also through reshaping her […]

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    Book Review: Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology edited by D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow and Kristen Schilt

Book Review: Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology edited by D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow and Kristen Schilt

In Other, Please Specify: Queer Methods in Sociology, editors D’Lane Compton, Tey Meadow and Kristen Schilt bring together contributors to reflect on the challenges and rewards of developing and conducting queer research while also questioning the traditional epistemological, methodological and political commitments of sociology. This is an engaging and vital book that provides methodological advice and practical strategies for undertaking queer research, writes Catalina Martin. 
This post […]

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    The death of the literature review and the rise of the dynamic knowledge map

The death of the literature review and the rise of the dynamic knowledge map

Almost every academic article starts with a literature review. However, although these short research summaries can be beneficial, as discussed in previous posts on the LSE Impact Blog, they also introduce opportunities for unverifiable misrepresentation and self-aggrandizement. In this post Gorgi Krlev proposes that short of abolishing them, or aiming for complete standardization of literature reviews, researchers in the […]

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    Big Qual – Why we should be thinking big about qualitative data for research, teaching and policy

Big Qual – Why we should be thinking big about qualitative data for research, teaching and policy

When social scientists think about big data, they often think in terms of quantitative number crunching. However, the growing availability of ‘big’ qualitative datasets presents new opportunities for qualitative research. In this post, Lynn Jamieson and Sarah Lewthwaite explore how ‘big qual’ can be deployed as a distinct research methodology to develop new forms of qualitative research and elucidate complex […]

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