Teaching Good Research Practice

I attended a webinar on how to teach students to document empirical research by Richard Ball and Norm Medeiros from Havorford College and hosted by the Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). This idea aims to counter current norms, policies and practices in teaching empirical research by having students submit all their statistical analyses with their final project. This should include all the necessary documentation to allow a third-party to replicate all statistical results, what Ball and Medeiros call “a soup-to-nuts approach”. This approach in turn enhances professional norms and practices through a trickle-up effect, students actually understand what they are doing, and students know they are being held accountable. The webinar used an example from an economics course, but it is easy to imagine the potential for social work education and research.

The slides are available on their YouTube channel. It’s worth checking out and rethinking how we can use this in our classrooms and research.

Towards and ecological model of research

Ben Shneiderman at the Atlantic reviews the historical tensions between basic and applied research and provides a new “ecological model”. Always relevant for applied-centric social work. HERE

The linear model, which assumes that basic research precedes applied research, is widely accepted, especially by basic science researchers who want funding with few restrictions and no promises of productive outcomes. The rare Einstein, Curie, or Hawking may have earned the expectation of unrestricted funding, but for the vast population of modern researchers this expectation is inappropriate.

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