American Political Science Association Organized Section for Qualitative and Multi-Method Research, Qualitative Transparency Deliberations, Working Group Final Reports, Report II.1 (December 2018)
20 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2019
Date Written: February 12, 2019
Recent discussions about transparency in political science have become fraught with concerns over replicability or even scholarly misconduct. The report of the QTD Working Group on Text-Based Sources emphasizes instead that the ultimate goal of augmenting transparency is to increase our ability to evaluate evidentiary claims, build on prior research, and produce better knowledge. Accordingly, this report reviews the complex issues raised by pursuing these goals through rendering more transparent qualitative research that employs text-based sources. We interpret "text-based sources" broadly to include a range of documents, from those found in state archives or the collections of parties and social movements to diaries, news media, and secondary sources. Text-based sources may be other media as well, such as photographs, transcriptions of radio or television broadcasts, videos, or websites. Moreover, our report applies to text-based portions of all social-scientific research, no matter what (combination of) methods they might employ in their empirical work. Drawing on QTD deliberations, existing scholarly work, and our own reflections, we discuss a range of transparency-enhancing practices and technologies, the costs and risks attendant with each, and their potential benefits. We close with a set of recommendations, ranked from least to most controversial.
Keywords: qualitative methods, research transparency, textual sources, archival research, Qualitative Transparency Deliberations
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