The changing field of research methods- Part 5

July was a big month for SAGE Publishing as we launched the enhanced SAGE research methods platform. With more than 1,000 books, reference works, journal articles, and instructional videos, this new and highly interactive platform builds on SAGE’s legacy of methods publishing. Research methods have been a core part of our mission here at SAGE, supporting both the development of the field and the innovative ways in which it is taught.  We’re incredibly proud of the new platform, check it out here!

srmSo how else have we been addressing key changes in the industry?

Discussing our SAGE research methods platform and other tools, Sharlene Hesse-Biber, author and faculty member at Boston College, shared her top tips on how librarians can better support faculty who teach research methods.  Watch her recorded presentation here.

Responding to the Rise of Big Data in Social Research

In recent years, we have seen methods evolving to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by big data and new technology, but how can social science researchers respond to the opportunity to listen to millions of voices, observe billions of interactions, and analyze patterns at a scale never seen before?

The Second Academic Conference of Social Science Research Methods and Application

On July 20th we co-hosted the Second Academic Conference of Social Science Research rm 1Methods and Application with the Institute of Population Research of Peking University and the School of Statistics of Renmin University of China. Held at Peking University, the conference was attended by 200 faculty members and postgraduate doctoral students.

Paul Evans, Managing Director of SAGE Asia- Pacific and Katie Metzler, Research Methods Publisher, spoke on social research in an era of big data. In her talk, Katie outlined how SAGE is currently working with social science academics to highlight some key challenges facing social science researchers today.

The Big Deal about Big Data

As previously mentioned, Harvard University’s Gary King of the Institute for Quantitative Social Science (IQSS) recently presented on new methodological approaches for analysing big data and what this means for the social sciences. His lecture is now available to watch in full here.

Roundtable Discussion on Big Data

big dataWe also hosted a roundtable discussion on using big data to solve social science problems with leading researchers in the field. Jane Elliott, CEO of the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), began with an overview of the ESRC’s Big Data Network and identified the difficulties with data access that earlier phases had encountered. A large focus of the day also highlighted the key challenges that big data social science currently faces.

The session demonstrated how far big data analysis in the social sciences has come over recent years, highlighting how much work has been put into developing the tools and methods to mold this rich, but novel, form of data into social insights.

However, the session also showed that there are number of areas that still need to be addressed if we are to make the most of big data including: improving access to large datasets, interdisciplinary research, ethics, increasing researcher skills and available tools. Find out more about the discussion that took place at the roundtable here.

Starting off another month of methods content in August, we held a MethodSpace webinar on how researchers can become research managers with Robert Dingwall, the co-editor of the new The SAGE Handbook of Research Management. The webinar, like the Handbook, approached research as a collaborative enterprise which draws on the different strengths of researchers who come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Watch the recording here.

The changing field of research methods’ series is 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. Interested in reading more? The rest of the series can be read here.

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