Findings Archive: New Technique for Facilitating Research Synthesis

Monday, 16 July 2018: 16:00
Oral Presentation
Ruut VEENHOVEN, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Martijn BURGER, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Social scientists are producing an ever growing stream of research findings, which is ever more difficult to oversee. As a result, capitalization on earlier investment declines and accumulation of knowledge stagnates. This situation calls for more research synthesis and interest in synthetic techniques is on the rise. To date attention has been focused on techniques for meta-analysis, with little attention paid to the preliminary step of bringing the available research findings together. What we need is: 1) techniques for describing research findings in a comparable way
2) a system for storing such descriptions in an easily accessible archive, 3) to which research findings can be added on a continuous basis.

The World Database of Happiness is an example of such a tool. The archive is tailored to meet the requirements of assembling research findings on happiness; both distributional findings (how happy people are) and correlational findings (what things go together with happiness). With its focus on 'findings' the system differs from data-archives that store 'investigations' and from bibliographies that store 'publications'. As yet there is no established term to describe this tool for research synthesis. I call it a 'focused findings archive'.

This technique has gradually developped since its first version in the 1980s. In this session I present the latest version, which involves a renewed website that allows better searches in this ever growing collection of research findings.