Learning Change

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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Social Science Parks: Society’s New Super Labs

This paper introduces a practical innovation in facilitating interdisciplinary social science research and its application: the Social Science Research Park (SPARK). Over the past decade, there has been increasing interest in developing interdisciplinary research that addresses societal problems and so-called “grand challenges”. But the evidence of successfully delivering such interdisciplinarity is weak, particularly when it comes to social science-led research. With this challenge in mind, this essay explores the potential of SPARKs: purpose-built facilities housing applied social science research groups alongside researchers from other disciplines, external research stakeholders and collaborators from the private, public and third sectors. The intention is to create the facilities and physical spaces that encourage creative interaction and promote the adoption of collaborative approaches to research. These in turn provide new insights into practical problems and policy issues and the foundation for discovery leading to economic, public and social innovation.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 18, 2015 at 11:13 am

Peer Review in 2015: A global view

“Within the academic community, peer review is widely recognized as being at the heart of scholarly research. However, faith in peer review’s integrity is of ongoing and increasing concern to many. It is imperative that publishers (and academic editors) of peer-reviewed scholarly research learn from each other, working together to improve practices in areas such as ethical issues, training, and data transparency ….

Authors, editors and reviewers all agreed that the most important motivation to publish in peer reviewed journals is making a contribution to the field and sharing research with others…
Playing a part in the academic process and improving papers are the most important motivations for reviewers…
Most researchers, across the humanities and social sciences and science, technology and medicine, rate the benefit of the peer review process towards improving their article as 8 or above out of 10…
In an ideal world, there is agreement that peer review should detect plagiarism …
Researchers thought there was a low prevalence of gender bias but higher prevalence of regional and seniority bias…
Most researchers wait between one and six months for an article they’ve written to undergo peer review, yet authors (not reviewers / editors) think up to two months is reasonable…


Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 13, 2015 at 2:22 pm

Posted in Peer review, Research

Tagged with ,

Doing Foucault in Early Childhood Studies: Applying Post-structural Ideas

This book draws on a broad range of poststructural and postcolonial thinkers, and pays particular attention to the intersections of race, class and gender. Within this theoretical framework, it shows the important contribution that Foucault and other poststructural theorists can make to research and practice in early childhood, as well as considering future directions that this application might take. The book uses research-based case studies, drawn from different countries, of practitioners and their work with children and parents. These show how researchers (including practitioners) have brought poststructuralisms into the classroom and used them strategically to reconstruct knowledge-power relationships in classroom practices and relationships. Creating points of resistance to traditional early childhood discourses. Reconstructing pedagogical knowledges and practices and relationships. Privileging social justice and equity intents in practices and relationships. Attending to cultural relations and practices of gender, race and class. Producing new forms of collaboration between practitioner children, the academy, parents and local community. The book will be of interest to trainers, researchers and practitioners who are seeking to develop an understanding of poststructural thinkers and their potential contribution as an important perspective on early childhood.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 12, 2015 at 5:37 pm

Designing Research Autopoietically

How is autopoiesis relevant to designing research? I have found that using the concept of autopoiesis enables me to describe and explain theoretically a way of designing research that I engage in with graduate students. I begin my work with students by directing their attention to already existing deep-seated interests and inviting them to reflect on those interests through writing informally. At the same time, I advise them to read widely, although I rarely advise what to read. I never prescribe how they are to respond to what they read, although their responses are inevitably incorporated into their writing. As they share their writing and receive my responses to which they respond with more writing, we set up an ongoing cycle of writing and responding. Through my prompting, students become self-consciously aware of their already-existing patterns of responding to elements in their environment. They articulate the meanings of those response patterns and come to see how their patterns and meanings construct their interests. This awareness eventually generalizes to an understanding of how response patterns and the meanings made of them construct not only individual interests but also shared social realities. Simultaneously, personal interests are re-articulated as socially relevant research topics, and insights about personal response patterns and meaning making are translated into ways of studying those topics in a larger social context. When students have articulated a topic and a way of studying it, they have in hand a research design.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

November 9, 2015 at 1:19 pm

The Social Poetics of Relationally Engaged Research

… it is the poet who plays with language, with interpretation, with imagery. It is in juxtaposition to this portrait of the poet, the poem, the poetic that I embrace the move toward a social poetic. Here we move rapidly from the interior of the poet or the particular poetic moment to the relational nexus from which all meaning emerges. No longer are we strapped with a view of the lonely poet or that difficult to capture moment we call poetic. Rather, we recognize that the “genius” of the poet and the ineffability of the poetic moment reside in the discursive resources that have been generated within relationships. Our resources emerge from our communities, from our negotiated ways of coordinating our actions within local moments.

Social poetics describes how participants in relation jointly create meaning and how, in that meaning, the seeds of transformative dialogue are sewn. Research, when viewed as a social poetic, also has the potential to invite transformative dialogue. This view of research, as relationally engaged, is dramatically different from our common understanding of the research process. Yet research is itself another form of conversation. And it is in conversation — in relationally engaged activity — that our worlds are circumscribed. The world can only be “imagined” in language; that is, in what we do together. To cast research as a poetic activity is to call attention to research as a conversation — one that is situated and relational and can therefore expand the array of possibilities — of images — for further forms of social life.


Contemporary Research on the Anthropology of Money and Finance

Since the 1980s, anthropologists have once more begun to investigate the specific roles that money can play in different social settings. Research on the everyday uses of money in traditional “exotic” fields, but also at “home”, has vividly exposed the limitations of mainstream economics’ theoretical models. Yet, although these studies usually represent their efforts as a critique of neo-liberalism, the horizon of their investigations is still framed by the ethnographic approach. Because ethnographers are still restricted to a local or regional level, they have little to say about the global context of their particular observations. In the last decade, younger anthropologists have flocked to do fieldwork on finance. They have highlighted the importance of religious and moral ideas for financial models and narratives, and how relations in the workplace are linked to the distributive effects of the financial system. Yet these studies still fall short of engaging with money as a fundamental element in the constitution of world society.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 28, 2015 at 7:58 pm

Methodological Practices in Social Movement Research

Social movement studies have grown enormously in the last few decades, spreading from sociology and political science to other fields of knowledge, as varied as geography, history, anthropology, psychology, economics, law and others. With the growing interest in the field, there has been also an increasing need for methodological guidance for empirical research. This volume addresses this need by introducing the main methods of data collection and data analysis as they have been used in past research on social movements. Unlike other volumes, the book offers a practical, how-to approach and not simply a review of the methodological literature. Each author writes on a method they are very familiar with, having used it extensively in their own work. And each chapter presents specific discussions on every stage of research: from research design to data collection and the use of the information gathered. Throughout, research dilemmas and choices are presented, illustrated, and discussed. The volume offers an essential point of references for anyone undertaking research on social movements.


Read also: Methods of Social Movement Research

Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 23, 2015 at 8:16 pm

Algorithms aren’t enough: why the Human Perspective is essential to Big Data

What if the scientific method were no longer necessary? A bold statement, but one that Wired’s Chris Anderson posits in his 2008 article, extolling the virtues of “Big Data.” Looping back to Anderson’s original premise on the ascendency of Big Data, it’s becoming clear that these tools are a valuable addition to existing research methodologies, particularly where large amounts of information are in play, but not a replacement for them. Superseding the human element seems to equate rational analysis with nuanced thinking and quantifiable results with understanding – two aspects that we’ll continue to rely on academics, scientists and researchers to interpret for us.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

October 6, 2015 at 3:23 pm

What Activist Researchers Say about Theory and Methodology

This article seeks to explore the work of activist researchers located in social movements, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and people’s organisations with close relations to contemporary progressive grassroots struggles in a number of countries, mainly in the global South. Drawing from extensive interviews with these researchers on their processes and practice of research and knowledge production, located outside of academic institutions and partnerships, it documents their understandings about the theoretical frameworks and methodologies they employ. This article thus foregrounds articulations of actual research practices from the perspectives of activist researchers themselves. In doing so, it suggests that social movement scholars can learn more about the intellectual work within movements, including the relations between theoretical and methodological approaches and action, from a deeper engagement with the work of activist researchers outside of academia.


Written by Giorgio Bertini

September 26, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Les Enfants Chercheurs: la Recherche Scientifique comme Modèle d’Apprentissage

La recherche scientifique peut-elle être un modèle d’apprentissage ? Deux invités, une enseignante professeure des écoles et un chercheur vont nous expliquer pourquoi et comment ils travaillent ensemble et comment ils envisagent leurs pratiques pédagogiques. En encourageant les enfants dans cette démarche scientifique, Ange Ansour et François Taddei incitent les élèves à mieux organiser et préciser leur pensée en écrivant avec précision tout ce qu’ils ont observé dans la vie de ces fourmis. C’est en écrivant qu’on acquiert une méthode nécessaire à la recherche scientifique. On passe ainsi du “questionnement” à la “méthode”…dans cette démarche pédagogique expérimentale et scientifique, on apprend aussi à apprendre. Il s’agit d’une démarche de créativité scientifique. Apprendre à transmettre, mais aussi apprendre à critiquer et réinventer pour demain, individuellement et collectivement dans la classe. Une expérience passionnante que ces élèves ont la chance de vivre dans leur classe.


Lire aussi:  Chercher pour trouver

Written by Giorgio Bertini

April 15, 2015 at 10:00 am


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