Transparency in Qualitative and Multi-Method Research: A Symposium
Qualitative and Multi-Method Research: Newsletter of the American Political Science Association's QMMR Section vol.13 no.1 (Spring 2015): 2-64.
64 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2015
Date Written: August 27, 2015
Research transparency has become a prominent issue across the social as well as the natural sciences. In the broad sense of providing a clear and reliable account of sources and an explicit account of how a scholar has gone about the analysis to arrive at his or her conclusions, transparency is central to the integrity and interpretability of research. But what does living up to this ideal of research transparency require in practice? What exactly do social scientists most need to be transparent about? How can greater research transparency be achieved concretely without undue costs? How does the meaning of transparency differ across research traditions grounded in differing epistemological or ontological assumptions? And are there limits? What is appropriate when the norm of research transparency conflicts with other professional norms, in particular the postulates of research ethics? The contributors to this symposium address these questions from the perspective of a wide range of research traditions, characterized by the type of evidence, such as interviews (Bleich & Pekkanen) or written sources (Trachtenberg); the context of, or epistemological position in field research (Cramer, Shih, Parkinson & Wood, Pachirat); and a variety of analytical approaches, including computerized textual analysis (Romney, Stewart & Tingley), qualitative comparative analysis (Wagemann & Schneider), hermeutics (Davison), and process tracing (Fairfield). In their concluding essay, the editors, Büthe & Jacobs, identify important areas of agreement about the goals and meaning of transparency and illuminate the structure and sources of key disagreements. They also reflect on broader implications, offering some additional suggestions for advancing research integrity, intellectual pluralism, and research ethics jointly. This symposium was published in Qualitative and Multi-Methods Research, the newsletter of the American Political Science Association's QMMR section, edited by Tim Büthe and Alan M. Jacobs with additional support from the Consortium of Qualitative and Multi-Method Research.
Keywords: research transparency, research integrity, research ethics, methodology, epistemology
JEL Classification: B00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation