posts tagged “peer-review”

New methods are key to developing new hypotheses and testing old ones. It would be difficult to imagine social sciences today without regression models, or social network analysis, or online ethnographies. Each has been developed and used to expand what we think that we know about the social world.

Black and white picture of a Victor snap trap
Image by pepperberryfarm via Flickr, Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 2.0

But social scientists, especially junior researchers, too often fail to justify their new methods. They demonstrate their creativity and document the often considerable work they put into developing their new approach. But scholars should take care that they're not just building a better mousetrap.

“Many forms of Government have been tried and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” Winston Churchill, 1947

I just received an e-mail inviting me to participate in the Second Annual International Symposium on Peer Review that seeks to examine the application -- and perceived failure -- of peer review in a scientific context. The aim of the conference is certainly a worthy goal, and I applaud the effort; however, it brings up ...