The changing field of research methods- Part 1

Academia, associated research disciplines and practices continue to change, be this the way that they are taught, researched or engaged with.  One of the largest, and somewhat misrepresented fields behind academia – research methods – is also experiencing its own shake up.

“Research methods is the connective tissue that binds together the work of scholars; across disciplines, across geographical boundaries and across levels from an undergraduate student embarking on a dissertation through to a senior professor working with a team […] SAGE has committed to publishing research methods to support scholars as they develop their fields.” -Ziyad Marar, SAGE’s Global Publishing Director

As the research methods landscape rapidly adapts and evolves, we know that researchers of the future will need different research skills to support their engagement with academic research. For example, how will our practices change in light of new technology, big data, the development of interdisciplinary research fields, alongside debates about validity?

Since SAGE Publishing’s founding in 1965, research methods has been at the heart of our publishing mission, supporting both the development of the field and the innovative ways in which it is taught.  SAGE is committed to supporting innovation within the field both in terms of new methods and adapting our own forms of publishing.

So what has SAGE been doing to support these debates and address these challenges?

Innovating new ways of publishing content

Publishing in new forms and adapting to the needs of researchers, bestselling author Andy AFField is to publish a new textbook with us in May. An Adventure in Statistics: The Reality Enigma is an introduction to statistics written in the form of a graphic novel and textbook, responding to the fact that a new generation of researchers need to be encouraged to engage with statistical research methods in new ways. Find out more about the title here.

mioEngaging with changes in the field of research methods, SAGE has begun publishing Methodological Innovations, an international, open access journal, focused on debating and considering innovation within innovative research methods. Methodological innovations continue to reshape the ways in which research conduct their work, triggered partly by new technology and the rise of big data. For researchers to engage with these changes new methods need to be supported and championed and Methodological Innovations is set to be a forum key for advancing this goal.

Social Media for Academics

Engaging with key debates in research and scholarship, SAGE has published Social Media for Academics by Mark Carrigan, an innovative new textbook providing guidance on how academics can effectively and intelligently use social media across disciplines.

Representing our commitment to engaging with the key debates in research and scholarship, this publication offers academics clear direction on how they can harness the power of one of the key developments of recent times in order to promote and engage the wider community with their work. Read our interview with Mark and see his top social media tips for academics here.

Addressing research methods surrounding big data and what it could mean for public policy, SAGE is hosting “The big deal about big data: Improving national security and public policy decision making,” a lecture by Dr. Gary King, Albert J. Weatherhead, III University Professor and Director of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University on May 11th in the Senate Dirksen building in Washington, D.C. Are you in the DC area and interested in attending? RSVP here.

Responding to industry debates

 Ziyad Marar, SAGE’s Global Publishing Director, explored the challenges and edge_logoopportunities of interdisciplinary research as a response to Edge magazine’s annual question: ‘What’s the most interesting recent [scientific news] news?’ The full response can be read here.

Metric Tide


Supporting and engaging with the debates around new ways of assessing our academic system, SAGE published The Metric Tide review into the role of metrics in Research Assessment in January. The full press release can be read here and a commentary piece on the responses to the report can be found here.


Introducing the new Methods in Action series

bbf530a58acbd2399eff91ad25ff01cb3461d320_mediumWhat challenges are academics facing in terms of using research methods in changing fields? In a new series, aptly named Methods in Action, we explore how authors are innovating in their approach.

The first two posts in the series include:

MethodSpace’s inaugural webinar  ‘Methods in Action: Tackling the Tweet’ took place on April 13th with researchers Luke Sloan and Joshua Tucker, who explained how to conduct Twitter- based research projects. You can watch a full recording of the webinar here.

‘The changing field of research methods’ posts will be part of a monthly SAGE research methods update, focusing on developments in the field, engagement in key debates, innovative new products and publications as well as top tips for those working with new and emerging research methods techniques.

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