In Brief: This is an opportunity for doctoral Students in their 2nd year or beyond to get experience of leading a cross-institutional network focused on research methods. It needs a response by 12noon on Friday 12th January.
MethodsNW is rolling out is programme of student-led Methods Exchange (known as MethodsX), launched at the MethodsX conference in May 2017. We are looking for second/third year PhD students to form planning groups of ‘theme leaders’ for each of the four themes (see below) with the opportunity to take charge of the theme of your choice. You will also have the support of an academic lead for each theme and a helpful administrator. Theme leaders will be drawn from across the four institutions represented in the ESRC North-West Social Science DTP (Manchester, Lancaster, Liverpool and Keele). As a theme leader you will be part of a small team responsible for planning and facilitating two meeting of your theme one in February/March and one in April/May. These meetings will be attended by 1st year NWSSDTP students and other interested PGRs. You will decide on the format of your meetings, the issues to be discussed and will invite academics or PGR students to participate. The theme meetings will culminate for the year in the MethodsX conference bringing all four themes together. In 2018, the conference will be hosted in Lancaster in Early July. The theme leaders will be responsible for developing a call for papers that highlights areas of interest under your theme and inviting other PhD students to present papers based on their experience of using the research methods in question.
Why volunteer? Networking is crucial to developing an academic identity as well as getting the support you need to complete you doctorate and launch your career. Leading a network of this kind will enable you to develop your networking skills. Of course it is also a chance to discuss your chosen research methods with other PGRs and academics across four institutions with whom you might not otherwise meet. The ability to organise an academic panel session is valuable academic-career experience. You will take a leading, organising, and chairing role for your session at the methodsX conference just as someone proposing a panel at an academic conference would do. We anticipate up to 100 delegates for the event so your experience would go beyond organising a small workshop or seminar.
What will it involve?
Initial face to face or skype meeting with other PGR theme leads and academic theme lead in early January
Plan and facilitate 2 meetings at any of the four institutions drawing upon PGRs and academics, for an audience of 1st year PGRs.
Develop and circulate a call for papers by May for the conference in July.
Select presenters and invited participants and develop session programme early June.
Attend MethodsX conference and act as chairs/leaders of your panel sessions (two afternoon sessions).
After the initial meeting it is envisaged that you will keep in touch with each other, your academic leads and administrator by email, Skype or other online channels.
The 4 themes are described below. If you are interested please contact Dalinder Sall firstname.lastname@example.org indicating which theme is most relevant to your research methods expertise, which institution you are at (Lancaster, Manchester, Liverpool or Keele) your programme or pathway and what stage of your PhD you are at (2nd, 3rd or final year).
1. Quantitative methods
Quantitative methods are a mainstay of the social sciences and are key to dynamic and innovative research in a wide range of fields. Whether theoretically, methodologically or practically oriented, engaging in quantitative research requires researchers to ask questions of data, methods and analysis throughout the work they do. In a field which is witnessing exciting new developments around computational power and modelling, among other things, dialogue between researchers is particularly important. Working with the Social Statistics and Advanced Quantitative Methods pathways, this Methods Exchange will provide an opportunity for discussion and the cross-fertilisation of ideas.
2. Fieldwork- THIS GROUP IS NOW FULL
Fieldwork in the social sciences may be used to investigate human behaviour, or the impact of policy, law, or environment upon humans. However there are a number of practical, theoretical, political, and ethical dilemmas that may arise from field research. These range from problems with access to ethical and legal concerns or the interpretative gap between researcher and researched. There are also physical and emotional strains attached to fieldwork and managing and maintaining field relations. The theme draws together researchers who are using observational techniques to addresses the opportunities and problems inherent in fieldwork.
3. New Forms of Data
New forms of data present new possibilities for the social sciences as we move from static datasets mirroring the qualitative-quantitative divide to data mixtures requiring hybrid skills and creativity a sound grasp of theory, methodology and method remains critical. We access social, cultural and economic worlds distributed across time and space (virtual and physical) through new forms of data, and thus have to be fully conscious of the terms of that access. This theme will address the hands on and practical as well as the theoretical, methodological and analytical issues that arise from engaging with the ‘digital’ broadly conceived.
4. Archives and Collections
This theme focuses on some of the practical challenges facing graduate students when making use of archives and collections. It also reflects on how technological change is shaping the way that scholars make use of archival collections of various kinds. We will pose questions about the provenance, politics and power of archives as well as the effects of digitisation. These questions need to be kept in mind when using archives in order to ensure that we make effective use of archival material in our research.