Why is it important to raise this question?
There has been a push in social science towards methodological innovation as a way to keep up with various forms of 21st century transformation. In the last few decades the social world has expanded to include the virtual and on-line. Are social science methods keeping up with and taking advantage of technological transformation? New and complex phenomena require, at the same time, an integrated approach to incorporate specialist forms of knowledge and capabilities. But what does innovation mean when we transfer research methods from other disciplines, or when we explore issues such as e-research, transdisciplinarity, mixed methods, or methodological pluralism? Boundaries are blurred not only among the social sciences, but also among other fields of knowledge. Co-working beyond academia, tracking collaborative research and addressing the social impact agenda also tend to be seen as routes to innovation, where participatory, creative methods and even arts-based approaches dictate. Do these kinds of activities indicate the democratisation of social research? What is the real impact of early stage dissemination on knowledge development? How far are we able to compromise local specificities in order to make research accessible and transferable worldwide? Is there anything really new? Which boundaries are we pushing? What needs to be done?
The First Research Methodology School – What needs to be done? is a partnership between the Department of Sociology, University of Porto (DS-UP) and the Institute of Cognitive Psychology, University of Coimbra (IPCDVS-UC). It will take place throughout the academic year 2014/2015, divided into three independent stages – participants may join all the stages of the Research Methodology School or just one stage:
- An INTERNATIONAL DEBATE on social science methodologies (4-5 Dec. 2014 – Uni. Coimbra);
- TRAINING the ESSENTIAL for research design and data analysis (26-30 Jan. 2015 – Uni. Porto);
- FIELDWORK EXCURSIONS for micro research projects (15-19 Jun. 2015 – Uni. Porto).
The An INTERNATIONAL DEBATE on social science methodologies is an open space for methodological ideas sharing, where the authors will have the chance to discuss their research among peers and specialists.
The TRAINING the ESSENTIAL for research design and data analysis is an intensive week of methodology workshops. During this week, we will work around the cycle of scientific production – from the research design to the results dissemination strategies’:
- research design – research design and funding sources applications;
- quantitative methodologies – the essential to academic work, with the support of SPSS software;
- qualitative methodologies – ethnography, focus groups and sociological portraits, with the support of MAXqda software;
- scientific dissemination – how to write a scientific article; how to choose the right journal; Impact Factors and other quality measures.
During the FIELDWORK EXCURSIONS for micro research projects the work proposal is the development of micro research projects with tutorial assistance from the Research Methodology School team. During the week it is expected that each participant develop a micro research project, collect and analyse data and, finally, identify an indexed journal and produce an outcome. It is helpful (but not essential) if the participants had already taken part in the TRAINING the ESSENTIAL’s stage.
Thus, this School aims mainly to be a complementary proposal to advanced methodology training for post-graduation students, researchers and professionals; and to be an open space for methodological debate across the social sciences addressing the question What needs to be done? in order to explore contemporary challenges of the second decade of the 21st century.
Looking forward to meet you soon.
Research Methodology School, Convenor