By Michael Todd, community manager of MethodSpace
A year in the making, the revamped version of the MethodSpace website, complete with a new hub focused at the emerging world of computational social science, is now live.
We launched MethodSpace as a dynamic online community for social and behavioral research methods that enables scholars and students to share experiences and solve problems on a global scale in 2009. It was a natural move for us, since research methods is in many ways the framework on which SAGE– and by extension scholarly knowledge — is built. Throughout our history, we have committed to publishing and innovating research methods. Our first methods book was published in 1970, and since then we have committed to publishing research methods through journal articles, textbooks and now a suite of born-digital products to support scholars as they develop their fields.
The new MethodSpace site proved a welcoming home for all the traditions of social science methodology – qualitative, quantitative and mixed – with more than 100 user-created groups formed by a populace that exceed 20,000 registered members at the time of the transition.
We undertook the migration to ensure that MethodSpace was on a solid technological foundation for the future. We opted to move the site to WordPress, an open source platform used by a more than a quarter of the world’s websites. This switchover was also a good time for a facelift, improving both MethodSpace’s looks and the ability of community members to find and use the features and content already present on the site.
As Ziyad Marar, SAGE’s president of global publishing, explains on a welcome message at MethodSpace, “Our aim at SAGE, as methods continue to evolve, is to provide the expert guidance, the publishing innovations, in form and content, which will help researchers of the future to be equipped with the skills they will need to flourish. And in the end to make knowledge claims and educate students in ways today only glimpsed at. We have designed MethodSpace to be a companion for that journey.” (To read his full message, CLICK HERE.)
The transition also saw new features and content coming the site, in particular by posting more articles to a site which in the past had seen most of its content coming directly from users. This useful new content includes blog series like Methods in Action or the Learning to Research and Illuminating Methods collections from SAGE author Janet Salmons. This site is also focused on bringing you more calls for papers, job opportunities and how-to’s, as well as more comprehensive events listings. MethodSpace is already hosting more videos, including livestreams, and will be hosting methods-related webinars throughout the year.
One of the most exciting new features at MethodSpace: ‘hubs’ dedicated to important trends in the methods community. The first one we’re debuting is our Big Data hub, reflecting the methodological advances being made in computational social science. As Harvard’s Gary King is fond of saying, it’s not the ‘big’ or the ‘data’ that makes big data so revolutionary, it’s the analysis. And with our hub, this is your chance to stay up to date with this burgeoning field. Click here to visit.
And while SAGE has definitely increased the flow of blog posts, events, videos, journal articles and other materials it broadcasts to the community for free, MethodSpace remains a site where community itself can interact. New members can start by creating their own profile page with their own research interests, podcasts and videos. The easiest place to start getting the most out of MethodSpace is the forum page, where anyone can read articles, lists, links and the other fun stuff that is regularly posted, and where members can discuss and debate what they’ve seen.
Why not launch an interest group for your field, research group, society, division or department – and be sure to invite people to join. Start a blog; upload poster presentations, podcasts and videos; create open and closed discussions; check out teaching resources and share course outlines and syllabi; and view, post, and RSVP to upcoming meetings.