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Reboot undergraduate courses for reproducibility – Nature (Katherine Button | September 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on December 12, 2018
 

Collaboration across institutes can train students in open, team science, which better prepares them for challenges to come, says Katherine Button.

Three years ago, as I prepared to start as a lecturer in the University of Bath’s psychology department, I reflected on my own undergraduate training. What should I emulate? What would I like to improve? The ‘reproducibility crisis’ was in full swing. Many of the standard research practices I had been taught were now shown to be flawed, from P-value hacking to ‘HARKing’ — hypothesizing after the results are known — and an over-reliance on underpowered studies (that is, drawing oversized conclusions from undersized samples).

It struck me that the research dissertation students do in their final year is almost a bootcamp for instilling these bad habits. Vast numbers of projects, limited time and resources, small sample sizes, the potential for undisclosed analytic flexibility (P-hacking) and a premium on novelty: together, a recipe for irreproducible results.

Most undergraduate dissertations turn into exercises tallying the limitations of the research design — frustrating for both student and supervisor. However, each year a few students get lucky and publish, securing a huge CV advantage. I wondered what lesson this was teaching. Were we embedding a culture that rewards chance results over robust methods?

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Scientists Rarely Admit Mistakes. A New Project Wants to Change That – UnDark (Dalmeet Singh Chawla | July 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 30, 2018
 

What are researchers to do when they lose confidence in their previously published work? A new project seeks to offer them an outlet.

IN SEPTEMBER 2016, the psychologist Dana Carney came forward with a confession: She no longer believed the findings of a high-profile study she co-authored in 2010 to be true. The study was about “power-posing” — a theory suggesting that powerful stances can psychologically and physiologically help one when under high-pressure situations. Carney’s co-author, Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Harvard University, had earned much fame from power poses, and her 2012 TED talk on the topic is the second most watched talk of all time.

Carney, now based at the University of California, Berkeley, had, however, changed her mind. “I do not believe that ‘power pose’ effects are real,” she wrote on her website in 2016. The reason, she added, was that “since early 2015 the evidence has been mounting suggesting there is unlikely any embodied effect of nonverbal expansiveness.” Other researchers, it turned out, could not replicate the power pose results, and withering scrutiny of the Carney and Cuddy study by fellow scientists mounted.

Carney’s assertions and Cuddy’s responses were widely covered in the media. (Earlier this year, Forbes reported that Cuddy had successfully refuted criticism of the power-posing study.) And despite her own eventual refutation of the findings, Carney did not believe the original paper warranted a full retraction, because it “was conducted in good faith based on phenomena thought to be true at the time,” she told the research integrity blog Retraction Watch.

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(Australia) Outrage over minister cancelling research grants – University World News (Geoff Maslen | October 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 30, 2018
 

Revelations that a former federal education minister interfered in a competitive research grants process and cancelled 11 humanities and social sciences projects, costed at more than AU$4 million (US$2.8 million), has generated outrage across Australia’s higher education sector.

The decision by former education minister Simon Birmingham last year and early this year to override recommendations from the Australian Research Council (ARC) was belatedly revealed in federal parliament on Thursday night.

ARC officials were being questioned during a Senate hearing and explained how Birmingham had stepped in to reject the council’s decision that 11 of the research projects be funded.

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The ‘problem’ of undesigned relationality: Ethnographic fieldwork, dual roles and research ethics (Papers: Kirsten Bell | 2018)0

Posted by Admin in on October 28, 2018
 

Abstract

This October 2018 paper reflects on an area of research which continues to be a source of tension between at least some researchers* and research ethics reviewers: Is it a problem, or an advantage or in fact sometimes a necessity that there be an existing connection between participant and researcher. *Especially for ethnographers and anthropologists who might feel they are being held to a biomedical standard that is irrelevant and useless for their work. We have included links to a trove of related items in the Resource Library.

Perhaps the most unique feature of ethnographic fieldwork is the distinctive form of relationality it entails, where the ethnographer’s identity as a researcher is not fixed in the way typical of most other forms of research. In this paper, I explore how this ‘undesigned relationality’ is understood, both in procedural ethics frameworks and by the different disciplines that have come to claim a stake in the ‘method’ itself. Demonstrating that the ethical issues it entails are primarily conceptualized via the lens of the ‘dual role’, I use this as a means of exploring the ideal relationship between researcher and subject that procedural ethics frameworks are premised upon. I go on to explore the epistemological differences in ways that ethnographers themselves understand and respond to the multiple forms of relationality that characterize fieldwork and the challenge this poses to the possibility of a pan-disciplinary consensus on ethnographic research ethics.
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Keywords
ethnography, research ethics, dual roles, disciplinarity, relationality
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Bell, K. (2018). The ‘problem’ of undesigned relationality: Ethnographic fieldwork, dual roles and research ethics. Ethnography. https://doi.org/10.1177/1466138118807236