141,071 research outputs found

    Theories and heuristics: how best to approach the study of historic fertility declines?

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    "This paper argues that a move away from a unifying but teleological framework for studying fertility declines can only been intellectually emancipating and is a necessary precondition for scientific advance. The study of change in human reproduction is an immensely complex and multi-faceted problem which requires the combination of both quantitative and qualitative forms of evidence and their respective methodologies of enquiry. The theoretical challenge is to construct an intellectually facilitating heuristic framework for synthesis of comparative, multidisciplinary study of the multiple fertility declines that have occurred, not to seek a replacement 'general narrative' for discredited demographic transition and modernization theories. Quantitative historical demography can only gain in its explanatory power by engaging with studies which also incorporate research into such qualitative aspects of gender as sex and power and which address a more historicist understanding of the role of culture by exploring its relationship with institutions, ideology and politics. It is argued that a number of recent, contextualized local and comparative studies of fertility declines are demonstrating how productively to combine quantitative and qualitative methods to explore rigorously these aspects of the history of fertility declines. Within the heuristic framework envisaged here, priorities for further research in the future would include exploring comparatively the relationship between reproductive change and communication communities with respect to the ideologically and politically-mediated issues of sex, religion, health, disease and education." (author's abstract

    Feminists really do count : the complexity of feminist methodologies

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    We are delighted to be presenting this special issue on the topic of feminism and quantitative methods. We believe that such an issue is exceptionally timely. This is not simply because of ongoing debates around quantification within the field of feminism and women‟s studies. It is also because of debates within the wider research community about the development of appropriate methodologies that take account of new technological and philosophical concerns and are fit-for-purpose for researching contemporary social, philosophical, cultural and global issues. Two areas serve as exemplars in this respect and both speak to these combined wider social science and specifically feminist methodological concerns. The first is the increasing concern amongst social scientists with how the complexity of social life can be captured and analysed. Within feminism, this can be seen in debates about intersectionality that recognise the concerns arising from multiple social positions/divisions and associated power issues. As Denis (2008: 688) comments in respect of intersectional analysis „The challenge of integrating multiple, concurrent, yet often contradictory social locations into analyses of power relations has been issued. Theorising to accomplish this end is evolving, and we are struggling to develop effective methodological tools in order to marry theorising with necessary complex analyses of empirical data.‟ Secondly, new techniques and new data sources are now coming on line. This includes work in the UK of the ESRC National Data Strategy which has been setting out the priorities for the development of research data resources both within and across the boundaries of the social sciences. This will facilitate historical, longitudinal, interdisciplinary and mixed methodological research. And it may be the case that these developments facilitate the achievement of a longstanding feminist aim not simply for interdisciplinarity but for transdisciplinarity in epistemological and methodological terms

    Doing evolution in economic geography

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    Evolutionary approaches in economic geography face questions about the relationships between their concepts, theories, methods, politics, and policy implications. Amidst the growing but unsettled consensus that evolutionary approaches should employ plural methodologies, the aims here are, first, to identify some of the difficult issues confronting those working with different frameworks. The concerns comprise specifying and connecting research objects, subjects, and levels; handling agency and context; engaging and integrating the quantitative and the qualitative; comparing cases; and, considering politics, policy, and praxis. Second, the purpose is to articulate a distinctive geographical political economy approach, methods, and illustrative examples in addressing these issues. Bringing different views of evolution in economic geography into dialogue and disagreement renders methodological pluralism a means toward improved understanding and explanation rather than an end in itself. Confronting such thorny matters needs to be embedded in our research practices and supported by greater openness; more and better substantiation of our conceptual, theoretical, and empirical claims; enhanced critical reflection; and deeper engagement with politics, policy, and praxis

    The Continued Importance of Research with Children and Youth: The “New” Sociology of Childhood 40 Years Later

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    This chapter presents the broad themes of this special issue by introducing the contributions and connections among the chapters in the volume. Recent theoretical constructions of childhood have positioned children as social actors resulting in a growth of child- and youth-centered empirical research. Yet, there is a continued importance for researchers to discuss ethical issues that arise in research with youth, contend with the competing constructions of children as social agents and in need of protection, and explore innovative methodological strategies used in research with youth

    Using Sequential Mixed Social Science Methods to Define and Measure Heritage Conservation Performance

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    There is no agreed-upon definition for heritage conservation performance, but it is possible to borrow ideas from the natural resource conservation field to inform this concept. Dimensions of performance can include economic, technical, and sociocultural and experiential indices. Because heritage conservation ostensibly benefits people as its primary goal, however, the values of most stakeholders ought to play a role in defining performance. Most of these values are subjective and represent sociocultural and personal meanings and tend to differ dramatically from the positivistic, fabric-centered value system of conservation experts. Measurement implies quantification, yet many sociocultural values are based on qualitative meanings that defy direct attempts at quantification. One solution for this predicament is to employ a sequential mixed-method approach where qualitative meanings are gathered from stakeholders and then these meanings are used to inform the development of a quantitative method, such as a survey instrument. In this way, while the qualitative meanings are not being directly “measured” as such, aspects of the phenomenon behind these meanings can be measured, quantified, and subjected to statistical techniques. A brief representative case study is presented as an example of how social science methodologies can help define and measure performance

    Feminist science and epistemologies: Key issues central to GENNOVATE's research program

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    This methodological brief offers a window into GENNOVATE’s innovative collaborative research initiative to promote gender equality in agricultural and natural resource management. It addresses questions such as 1) Why is it important to distinguish among epistemology, methodology, and methods?; 2) What is feminist epistemology?; 3) What can researchers of gender, agriculture, and innovation learn from engaging the contributions of feminist epistemology?; and 4) How has GENNOVATE integrated lessons from feminist methods and feminist epistemics about gender relations, agricultural change, and innovation

    The role of film production policy in stimulating a Flemish identity (1964–2002)

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    The role of the official film production policy in stimulating a Flemish identity forms the central research question of this study. This research project examines the period that starts in 1964, when a selective and culturally inspired support mechanism for feature films was introduced in Flanders. Subsequently, the support system ran until 2002, when it was structurally renewed. This study makes use of original archival research, policy documents analysis, expert interviews, qualitative press documents analysis, and a quantitative content and qualitative textual analysis of films. The research shows that throughout the course of the second half of the 20th century, there was an evolution in Flemish film policy towards more pluralistic and less essentialist and explicit national discourses, in which national elements, nevertheless, retained an important place

    What makes you not a Buddhist? : a preliminary mapping of values

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    This study sets out to establish which Buddhist values contrasted with or were shared by adolescents from a non-Buddhist population. A survey of attitude toward a variety of Buddhist values was fielded in a sample of 352 non-Buddhist schoolchildren aged between 13 and 15 in London. Buddhist values where attitudes were least positive concerned the worth of being a monk/nun or meditating, offering candles & incense on the Buddhist shrine, friendship on Sangha Day, avoiding drinking alcohol, seeing the world as empty or impermanent and Nirvana as the ultimate peace. Buddhist values most closely shared by non-Buddhists concerned the Law of Karma, calming the mind, respecting those deserving of respect, subjectivity of happiness, welfare work, looking after parents in old age and compassion to cuddly animals. Further significant differences of attitude toward Buddhism were found in partial correlations with the independent variables of sex, age and religious affiliation. Correlation patterns paralleled those previously described in theistic religions. Findings are applied to spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and for the teaching of religious to pupils of no faith adherence. The study recommends that quantitative psychometrics employed to conceptualize Buddhist values by discriminant validity in this study could be extended usefully to other aspects of the study of Buddhism, particularly in quest of validity in the conceptualization of Buddhist identity within specifically Buddhist populations

    Business Value of IT Investment: The Case of a Low Cost Airline’s Website

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    Using the case of a low cost airline company’s website we analyze some special research questions of information technology valuation. The distinctive characteristics of this research are the ex post valuation perspective; the parallel and comparative use of accounting and business valuation approaches; and the integrated application of discounted cash flow and real option valuation. As the examined international company is a strategic user of e-technology and wants to manage and account intangible IT-assets explicitly, these specific valuation perspectives are gaining practical significance