Creative Research Methods Summer School 6-8 July 2017

casic-logofinalPhD students and Early Career Researchers are welcome at this event organised by the Community Animation and Social Innovation Centre (CASIC) at Keele University.

The Summer School will be held in central England at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme (6-7 July) and Keele University campus (8 July), where you will experience the KAVE and our Makerspace facilities.

The facilitator will be Dr Helen Kara, author of Creative Research Methods in the Social Sciences: A Practical Guide. Speakers will include:

  • borderlinesProfessor Mihaela Kelemen – CASIC Director
  • Dr Lindsay Hamilton – Keele Management School, Keele University
  • Véronique Jochum – Research Manager, National Council for Voluntary Organisations
  • Dr Emma Surman – Keele Management School, Keele University
  • Dr Ceri Morgan – School of Humanities, Keele University
  • Professor Rajmil Fischman – School of Music, Keele University
  • Sue Moffat – Director of New Vic Borderlines, New Vic Theatre

keele-logo-2The Summer School will enlighten, inspire and guide ECRs and students at all stages of scholarly or professional doctorates. Each day will be packed with interactive hands-on sessions addressing six broad topics:

  • Arts-based research
  • Transformative research frameworks
  • Mixed-methods research
  • Knowledge co-production
  • Research using technology
  • Writing creatively for research

We are offering an “early bird” price of £230 for bookings received and paid by 21 April. After that date the price will be £270. The cost includes refreshments and lunches and a complimentary copy of Dr Kara’s book on creative research methods.

There will be a dinner and performance of ‘Around the world in 80 Days’ at the New Vic Theatre on July 6th, at an extra cost of £20.

For more information click here.

Please follow #CRMSS17 on Twitter for pre-event updates.

Open Access Research Methods Journals

oaThis post was inspired by a recent post on the Global Social Change Research Project site, which lists a lot of free resources for social research and evaluation. Having taken the Open Access Pledge, and given my specialism, I was particularly interested in OA journals on research and evaluation methods. So I have compiled all those I could find, through gsocialchange and elsewhere, that focus primarily on methods, are peer reviewed, and publish in English. (Some also publish in other languages, but I only speak and read English – a limitation – so, sadly, I am unable to include non-English journals.) Almost all are exclusively digital.

I was interested to find that many of these journals have quick publication timescales, sometimes only a few weeks from submission to publication. I was also very relieved to find that few ask for financial contributions from authors. When OA came in, I was broadly in favour – I do believe that research funded by public money should be publicly available – but I was worried that article processing charges (APCs) levied on authors would exclude many scholarly writers from publishing their work. I’m delighted to discover that this is not the case (at least, not in my field) and I’m grateful to all the universities and others that sponsor these journals. Also, where APCs are levied by these journals, they are only charged on acceptance for publication, not on submission, and waivers are sometimes available in exceptional circumstances.

As far as I can tell, only one of these journals, the African Evaluation Journal, is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics. Some other journals have their own ethical statements, or follow a specified code of ethics from an institution or association. But most make no mention of ethics, which in the current climate seems a little lax at best.

So here they are, in alphabetical order, with brief details.

African Evaluation Journal

Funded and published by the African Evaluation Association (AfrEA); no APCs.

Publishes high quality peer-reviewed articles of merit on any subject related to evaluation, and provides targeted information of professional interest to members of AfrEA and its national associations and evaluators across the globe. Aims:

  • To build a high quality, useful body of evaluation knowledge for development.
  • To develop a culture of peer-reviewed publication in African evaluation.
  • To stimulate Africa-oriented knowledge networks and collaborative efforts.
  • To strengthen the African voice in evaluation.

Art/Research International

Sponsored by the University of Alberta. No APCs.

A transdisciplinary journal dedicated to exploring and advancing art as research, and/or within the research process, across disciplines and internationally. It offers a space for art/research practitioners: to draw on working examples to discuss challenges, best practices, ethical quandaries, and new directions  for the practice of bringing art and research together; to explore the methodological ambitions and theoretical or philosophical underpinnings and issues of art/research practices; and to provide insights and critiques of art/research projects of other art/research practitioners.

Critical Approaches to Discourse Analysis across Disciplines

Published by CADAAD, which seems to be run voluntarily by academics from various universities. No APCs.

Publishes articles which investigate, from a ‘critical’ perspective, contemporary discourse and genres in social, political, public and professional communication.  Especially interested in articles which highlight, develop and apply new theoretical and methodological frameworks for critical discourse research or which assess established methods and assumptions.

Electronic Journal of Business Research Methods

Published by Academic Publishing Limited. APC of £250 (inc. VAT) on acceptance for publication – no submission fee.

Publishes articles and provides perspectives on topics relevant to research in the field of business and management. Aims to contribute to the development of theory and practice.

Forum: Qualitative Social Research

Supported by the Institute for Qualitative Research and the Center for Digital Systems, Freie Universität Berlin. No APCs.

Interested in empirical studies conducted using qualitative methods, and in contributions that deal with the theory, methodology and application of qualitative research. Innovative ways of thinking, writing, researching and presenting are especially welcome. They favour contributions with an inter-disciplinary and/or multinational perspective which was already manifest at the conceptualization stage, for example through co-authorship.

International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Published by Sage on behalf of the International Institute of Qualitative Methodology

APCs of $1,000-$1,750 on acceptance for publication – this funds the journal. Part payment and waivers possible in exceptional circumstances.

Publishes articles that report methodological advances, innovations, and insights in qualitative or mixed-methods studies. Also publishes funded full studies using qualitative or mixed-methods.

Journal of Methods and Measurement in the Social Sciences

Funded by the University of Arizona Library – no APCs.

An online scholarly publication focusing on methodology and research design, measurement, and data analysis – providing a new venue for unique and interesting contributions in these study areas which frequently overlap.

Journal of Modern Applied Statistical Methods

Published in partnership by JMASM Inc and Wayne State University Library System. No APCs.

Designed to provide an outlet for the scholarly works of applied nonparametric or parametric statisticians, data analysts, researchers, classical or modern psychometricians, and quantitative or qualitative methodologists/evaluators.

Journal of MultiDisciplinary Evaluation

Published by Western Michigan University. No APCs.

Publishes work that contributes to the development of evaluation theory, methods, and practice.

Journal of Research Practice

Published by AU Press, Athabasca University. Funded by sponsorship. No APCs.

Aims to develop understanding of research as a type of practice, and to assist both research practitioners and research theorists to share their experiences with and ideas about research, so as to extend and enhance that practice in multiple domains.

methods, data, analyses

Published by Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. No APCs.

Publishes research on all questions important to quantitative methods, with a special emphasis on survey methodology. In spite of this focus they welcome contributions on other methodological aspects.

Practical Assessment, Research and Evaluation

Funded by sponsorship. No APCs. Despite being a professional researcher and skilled internet sleuth, I was unable to find out who publishes this journal.

Publishes scholarly syntheses of research and ideas about methodological issues and practices, designed to help members of the community keep up-to-date with effective methods, trends, and research developments from a variety of settings.

Qualitative Sociology Review

Published by Lodz University, Poland. No APCs.

Qualitative Sociology Review publishes empirical, theoretical and methodological articles applicable to all fields and specializations within sociology.

Social Research Practice

Funded and published by the UK and Ireland Social Research Association; no APCs.

They welcome articles from anyone working in social research or social policy, whether as a producer or a user of research. Aims: to encourage and promote high standards of social research for public benefit, and to encourage methodological development.

Survey Methods: Insights from the Field

Published jointly by the Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences and Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences. No APCs.

Aim: to promote professional exchange on practical survey research issues and discussion on new and promising paths in survey research. Focus is on practical aspects of the daily work of surveying, including questionnaire design, sampling, interviewer training, fieldwork administration, data preparation, documentation and dissemination.

Survey Practice

Published by the American Association for Public Opinion Research. No APCs.

 Aim: to emphasize useful and practical information designed to enhance survey quality by providing a forum to share advances in practical survey methods, current information on conditions affecting survey research, and interesting features about surveys and people who work in survey research.

Survey Research Methods

Published by the European Survey Research Association with the Communication, Information, Media Centre of the University of Konstanz.No APCs.

Topics of particular interest include survey design, sample design, question and questionnaire design, data collection, nonresponse, data capture, data processing, coding and editing, measurement errors, imputation, weighting and survey data analysis methods.

Turkish Online Journal of Qualitative Inquiry

Published by DergiPark. No APCs.

Publishes high quality and original research conducted with qualitative, mixed or action research methodology in educational sciences. Manuscripts required in both English and Turkish.

The Qualitative Report

Published by Nova Southeastern University. No APCs.

Methods may be qualitative, comparative, mixed, collaborative, action-oriented, appreciative, and/or critical in nature. Articles may be qualitative research studies, commentaries about the conduct of qualitative research, prescriptive pieces on carrying out qualitative research, “back stage” essays in which authors give a perspective on how they created and crafted a particular project, presentations on technological innovations relevant to qualitative researchers and their inquiries, and any other issues which would be important for practitioners, teachers, and learners of qualitative research. Scientific, artistic, critical and clinical approaches are all welcome.

And that’s the lot! If anyone knows of another OA methods journal I’ve missed, please leave a comment, with a link to the journal, and I’ll update the post.

How ethical is it to write a book?

indigenous-research-meth-cover_Three bloggers and tweeters had an online conversation in December and this post is a response to that discussion, which  began when Naomi Barnes, aka @DrNomyn, posted her thoughts on qualitative research. She wrote of the politics and power of research and knowledge, and her realisation that there are ethical implications to every decision she makes as a researcher. Naomi describes that as ‘a huge and sobering responsibility’.

Naomi tweeted the link to her blog post, which was picked up by Ian Guest, aka @IanInSheffield. He responded, first on Twitter and then on his blog. Ian’s concern is with southern-theory-cover_the ethics of representation, and in particular what and who is missing from accounts of research and communication. This leads to his interest in where knowledge shared online may go, and what impact it may have, beyond that which is visible in tweets and blog posts.

Then Deborah Netolicky, aka @debsnet, joined in. She problematises the ethics of writing: how to represent the messiness of research (and life) within the inevitable neatness of writing, and how much – or how little – of the author’s self is, and/or should explicitly be, expressed in their academic writing.

research-as-ceremony-cover_Each of these points links to my current writing project: the book on research ethics which I have spent the last two years talking about and researching, and which, this year, I will actually write. Like Naomi, I’m aware that there are ethical implications to every decision I make as I work on this book. What I choose to read; what I choose to take from that reading; who I speak to; what I decide is significant from those conversations; how I select and place each word in the text; how I acknowledge my reading and conversations within that process; what I leave out, and why – Naomi is right, it is a ‘huge and sobering responsibility’.

decolonising-meth-cover_One of my proposal reviewers said, ” There is a considerable international literature on research ethics with which the author may not (yet) be familiar: Mertens and Ginsberg; Hammersley and Trianou; Tolich and Sieber; Posel and Ross; Iphofen; Israel; vd Hoonaard; Denzin, Lincoln and Smith; and even Stark; Schrag…” This was not a lack of familiarity – most of these are on my bookshelves or in my electronic folders – simply a lack of reference. But I am interested in the reviewer’s view of ‘international’ and – like Ian – in what, and who, is missing from that view.

Most of the work cited by this reviewer is written from Euro-Western locations. The chilisa-mertens-cram-cover_exceptions are Posel and Ross (South Africa) and Sieber and Tolich (New Zealand). Yet I would argue that these authors, too, turn a predominantly Euro-Western gaze on the topic of research ethics. For example, neither text addresses the impact of colonization on research worldwide, nor mentions the work to decolonize research methods or the Indigenous research being done in their country of origin. I am currently reading a different body of work which highlights this as a huge lacuna at best, and imperial epistemological violence at worst. Books on Indigenous research and decolonizing methods are opening my eyes to the value, power, and ethics of non-Euro-Western research practices.

decolonising-solidarity-coverSo of course I will include this body of work in my forthcoming book. To do that was an easy ethical decision: as soon as I knew the work existed, it was obvious that I should read and incorporate it into my own work. The hard part is how to do that. I guess I’ll figure it out as I write, but one thing’s for sure: it won’t be a tokenistic chapter or mentions in passing with a few footnotes.

Like Deb, I also need to figure out where and how to put myself into this writing. I am white, British, a descendant of some of the most predatory imperialists the world has yet seen. I benefit daily, hugely, from the legacy of colonization. I live in a country made rich on the profits of oppression, invasion, exploitation and slavery. I only speak English, because I only need to speak English, because my ancestors invaded so much of the land on this planet that now English is the most commonly spoken language worldwide. One thing I’m learning, in reading about Indigenous research, is that in many cultures worldwide, people value their ancestors as highly as their living relatives. For me, the dead are dead; if I was ever to have a relationship with my own ancestors, I would probably need to start by shouting at them for several years.

Sometimes I wonder whether I have any right to even write about this body of work. But then I think that the risk of perpetrating epistemic imperialism by leaving it out is worse than the risk of perpetrating epistemic violence through inept inclusion. Sometimes I wonder whether it’s even ethical to write books at all. I have discovered, since I began to write professionally, that being an author is a way of claiming authority. Is that ethical? I guess it depends on how you do it. My aim is not only to write about ethics but also to do so ethically. As Deb says, there will be ‘moments of awkwardness, uncertainty, openness, weakness, resistance, emotion’, and I want to reveal as many of these as I can. That, too, seems like an ethical approach. Yet I wonder how ethically I can write, given that I write with enormous privilege: access to structures such as universities and publishers, and social capital that is denied to most Indigenous researchers. I’m not arrogant enough to think I can write a book which will change that situation. But at least, perhaps, I can move the goalposts by acknowledging and including work on Indigenous research and decolonizing methods alongside Euro-Western methods and ethics. Also, I want to acknowledge the Euro-Western location of Euro-Western research methods and ethics, rather than maintaining the common assumption that these are the only methods and ethics on the planet.

fork-in-the-roadIt’s a tough and daunting task. I’m not even sure whether I’m going in the right direction – or whether there is a “right direction” at all. But I aim to consider all the ethical implications of each decision I have to make and, at each fork in the road, to choose the most ethical path. I think that’s the best I can do.

New Year’s Resolution: Open Access Only

open-doorHappy New Year, all my lovely readers! I hope you’ve had a wonderful break and that any resolutions you may have made are the life-enhancing rather than the punitive kind.

My resolution for 2017 is that from now on, I will only write academic articles in my own time for open-access journals. If someone wants to pay me to write an academic article, then I’ll be open to submitting that article to a journal of their choice. (It has happened once in my life, so far.) But otherwise I’m going OA.

I can’t afford to do that with books, as I’m finding that academic self-publishing doesn’t pay, while academic traditional publishing does, a bit. (My trad pub royalties for the year 2015-16 finally broke four figures, which felt GREAT.  The actual figure was £1,627.20 which is a month’s money for me. Though it did take five-and-a-half years of dedicated writing and promo to reach this point… at that rate I should be able to give up the day job in 2071. When I’ll be 106 years old. Oh well!)

Articles for academic journals are much easier and quicker to write than books. They’re also good for testing and refining small ideas. I enjoy writing them, so I’m not going to stop. But I am planning to reduce the number I write to two a year, and publish those in OA journals or not at all.

This is primarily an ethical decision. Early in the days of OA publishing, although I liked the prospect from a reader’s viewpoint, I worried that many writers would be excluded because of the costs. I think that is still the case in some quarters, but I have found that reputable OA journals are often willing to waive their fees for independent researchers, and some don’t charge fees at all. Also, I would like my work to be more widely accessible, including to people who are temporarily or permanently outside the academy, or in parts of the world where it’s particularly difficult for people to access paywalled academic journals.

There are many more open access journals around now than there were five years ago. When I was working on the first edition of Research and Evaluation for Busy Practitioners, in 2012, the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) listed 22 journals covering social work. Now it lists 125. There are similar levels of increase in other subject areas, and there are now 9,000 journals on the site as a whole. Yet the DOAJ only lists journals that are peer-reviewed or otherwise editorially controlled; they don’t list predatory journals. They promote best practice in OA publishing and have high ethical standards.

I feel ashamed to say that I have never published an article in an OA journal. To begin with I was advised on where to publish by academic mentors, then I wanted to publish in the journals I liked to read. Now I want to read more OA journals as well as publishing in them. I’m not going to rule out citing work from paywalled journals – yet – but I want to focus on finding and using more OA journals, rather than going straight to the usual suspects all the time.

I do have a couple of articles in the pipeline with paywalled journals, so it’ll be a while before I get to assess the impact of my New Year’s resolution for 2017. Nevertheless, I’m sure it’ll be an interesting adventure!