ACN - 101321555 Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Resource Library

Research Ethics MonthlyAbout Us

ResourcesResearch IntegrityPolitics Moves Fast. Peer Review Moves Slow. What’s A Political Scientist To Do? – FiveThirtyEight (Maggie Koerth-Baker | December 2017)

Australasian Human Research Ethics Consultancy Services Pty Ltd (AHRECS)

Politics Moves Fast. Peer Review Moves Slow. What’s A Political Scientist To Do? – FiveThirtyEight (Maggie Koerth-Baker | December 2017)

Published/Released on December 19, 2017 | Posted by Admin on January 23, 2018 / , , , , , , ,
 


View full details | Go to resource


Politics has a funny way of turning arcane academic debates into something much messier. We’re living in a time when so much in the news cycle feels absurdly urgent and partisan forces are likely to pounce on any piece of empirical data they can find, either to champion it or tear it apart, depending on whether they like the result. That has major implications for many of the ways knowledge enters the public sphere — including how academics publicize their research.

A conundrum for political scientists. An excellent discussion piece that shows in politics the impact of dodgy research can have on community opinion.

That process has long been dominated by peer review, which is when academic journals put their submissions in front of a panel of researchers to vet the work before publication. But the flaws and limitations of peer review have become more apparent over the past decade or so, and researchers are increasingly publishing their work before other scientists have had a chance to critique it. That’s a shift that matters a lot to scientists, and the public stakes of the debate go way up when the research subject is the 2016 election. There’s a risk, scientists told me, that preliminary research results could end up shaping the very things that research is trying to understand.
.
Take, for instance, two studies that hit the press in late September. One was a survey of nonvoters in Wisconsin that seemed to show that the election could have swung President Trump’s way because of voter ID laws that kept people from the polls. The other was an analysis of junk news shared on Twitter that offered evidence of misinformation being targeted at people living in swing states in a way that implied a strategic effort. Neither had gone through peer review before receiving largely uncritical write-ups in major publications like The New York Times and The Washington Post. Both contained the sort of everyday flaws that the peer review process is designed to catch — flaws that undermined the reliability of the results.
.

Read the rest of this discussion piece



Resources Menu

Research Integrity


Human Research Ethics

0