How do we make sense of Social Science Research?

Earlier this month SAGE and Sense about Science hosted a panel debate as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science, looking at how we can judge or trust claims made in the media.  Addressing the role of peer review within this, panellists asked of themselves and the audience,  to closely examine whether or not peer review can help us make sense of social science research.

Introduced by SAGE’s Editorial Director Miranda Nunhoffer,  and chaired by Sense about Science’s Prateek Buch, we were joined by a highly esteemed group of panellists representing the media, policy and academic angles. These included:

  • Jonathan Breckon, Alliance for Useful Evidence, who spoke to the issues around hierarchy and standards of evidence and the importance of replication
  • Aileen Murphie, Director, Home Affairs Value for Money at UK National Audit Office, who spoke to issues around the use of robust social science research to policymakers and the use of evaluation as giving an idea of causality in policy, a factor often missing.
  • Professor Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate & Culture, Kings College London spoke to issues around whether or not social science research can be trusted and what expectations people have with respect to its credibility and public value.
  • Michael Hanlon, a science journalist for national papers such as The Guardian and the author several science books, spoke to issues around how the media handle statistics and show evidence.

Attended by policy makers, academics, early career researchers and people with a general interest in social science the panel debate created a lively and engaging discussion around the role and value of social society in our wider society.  A full video of the discussion and resulting Q& A can be seen here:

At the heart of SAGE’s publishing is a deeply help commitment to the value and importance of supporting the social sciences, be this through partnerships with key global organisations helping to facilitate voices against change, or though the support and dissemination of high quality academic research. Social science plays a crucial role in society and we were absolutely delighted to once again support and participate in the annual Economic Social & Research Council (ESRC) Festival of Social Science and work with Sense about Science to further explore the ‘nuts and bolts’ around peer review.

For more information on the festival you can follow #ESRCfestival or visit the homepage here.

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