Unforeseen Difficulties in Empirical Research: Finding Causes of Failed Research

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 10:30-12:20
RC33 Logic and Methodology in Sociology (host committee)

Language: English

Dealing with unforeseen difficulties is an essential part of empirical research, but sometimes we have to admit that certain decisions were wrong, that a research strategy didn’t work out or maybe even that, in the end, the whole research project failed. This session seeks to provide space to discuss research attempts that finally disappeared in a drawer. The aim of the session is not to make someone look like a fool or to satisfy the other’s curiosity, but to reflect on causes of failed research and to learn from mistakes. As failing is not always a matter of the researchers’ incompetence but can have multiple reasons, reporting what happened - and why – this session may be a step forward to prevent others from making the same mistakes. In our proposal the term “failed” should be understood in a broad sense: reasons can reach from practical things (difficult access to the field, problems with funding, external incidents…), methodical problems (bad questionnaire, inappropriate survey period, sampling difficulties, problems with interviewers, etc. …) to methodological misconceptions (incoherent or too complex research design, incompatibilities of different parts of the study,…) or theoretical issues (difficulties in the implementation of theoretical concepts for empirical research,…). We encourage researchers to present their reflections on failed research projects. The session should provide an open platform to discuss about difficulties in our daily research activities and to encourage a new code of practice – not to ignore failed research but to learn from it.

Session Organizers:
Wolfgang ASCHAUER, University of Salzburg, Austria, Nina BAUR, Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, Dimitri PRANDNER, University of Salzburg, Austria and Martin WEICHBOLD, University of Salzburg, Austria
Oral Presentations
Methodological Complications in Sociology:an Assessment of Reliability and Validity
Dealing with (Un)Expected in Qualitative Research Field-Work
Inga GAIZAUSKAITE, Institute of Sociology at Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Lithuania; Natalija VALAVICIENE, Mykolas Romeris University / National Examination Centre, Lithuania
Distributed Papers
Modern Interpretations of Correlations in Sociology As a PATH to Mock-Scientific Results
Mikhail BASIMOV, Russian State Social University, Russian Federation