Lessons From the Past? Or Justifying an Idiosyncratic Research Agenda?

I remember reading Michael Tomz's book Reputation and International Cooperation: Sovereign Debt Across Three Centuries for a seminar a couple of years ago, and someone having made a remark about how Tomz was probably just really interested in the time period or the subject matter, but had to frame the research in such a way as to justify its relevance beyond what might be the author's more narrow interests.  Since then I've had a few discussions with some of my advisers on the topic of how we frame our research–essentially how we sell a line of research as relevant to our Continue reading Lessons From the Past? Or Justifying an Idiosyncratic Research Agenda?

Data and Blogging

Ah Friday, a great day to do final edits on my and Julie's paper for Midwest – also a good time for a quick blog post with a somewhat misleading title as the two subjects refer to two seperate links. First, via Freakonomics, is a competition for the Fraser Institute to have them collect data.  You write up the brief that suggests what they collect and, if you are in the top 6 suggestions, they pay you.  Time to go through my bin of thoughts that usually begins with "If we had data for…" and ends with "we could then Continue reading Data and Blogging

Conference Double Dipping: How Germ Free is Your Paper?

Since it had become suggested reading for our first year graduate students in their introduction to methods course, I finally compelled myself to read over the April edition of PS: Political Science and its symposium on duplicate paper presentations at conferences.  That is, whether it is acceptable for an identical paper to be presented at different conferences.  My exposure to conferences is limited compared to the  more lengthy CVs and experiences of the senior members of the profession.  Despite this limitation, my exposure to repeat submissions and presentations has occurred on more than one occasion.  When asking graduate students at Continue reading Conference Double Dipping: How Germ Free is Your Paper?

Data collection using Web-based Forms

Thanks to a comment on an earlier post, Stephen Haptonstahl answered some of my questions and technical misgivings I had about setting up a larger user interface for collecting data via a webpage.  Specifically, he has an article in the Political Methodologist‘s from 2008 (the specific issue can be found here, starts on page 12) that details the set up for data entry using the web-based forms to compile data: […]Web-based forms provide some clear advantages: more than one person can enter data at a time without fear of writing over each other’s work; the data is stored on a Continue reading Data collection using Web-based Forms

Over 100 Places that May Fund Your Research

Academic Productivity has recently posted a great find from the Online Education Database: 100 places to find funding for your research: Whether you’re researching the habits of marine life, ancient texts or just a new way to market products, you’ll likely need some funding to get your studies underway. The Internet is a great place to start looking for sources of funding, and we’ve put together a list here of a hundred or so places where you can get some assistance for your next big research project.

Manual Data Collection in the age of Computers

I am beginning a new data collection project that requires the manual coding of data collected from various sources in print and online.  As I start this project, I am tasked with how to build a master record of all the data I collect in the process.  I have worked on projects that used extensive paper coding forms that were later filed away only to be retrieved when appropriate.  This serves as a safeguard to both checking original coding decision, errors in the database, and any other information the coders found while researching the topic at hand.  Alternatively, other projects Continue reading Manual Data Collection in the age of Computers

Conferences go digital and explore the World of Warcraft

I have actively played video games since before I could actively recall solid memories of my childhood.*  Some of my earliest memories do include an Atari system set up by my father and primitive graphics.  A lifetime of video games has lead to my current past time of World of Warcraft which I have since spent countless hours (some readers are already aware of this).**  This has even lead to primordial discussions of a unique situation, ripe for academic exploration, in which particular raw goods are more valuable than the "value added" goods produced from them in the game.  This Continue reading Conferences go digital and explore the World of Warcraft

Something to keep an eye out for: Google Data

Wired reports that Google plans to release, soon, a framework for hosting, storing, and distributing large or frequently used data.  The Project, Palimpsest, will pay the fees to both ship the data (by sending users a 3TB hard drive to download the data) and for hosting.  This, if applicable for political science scholars, not only is a good way to reduce the cost of hosting our work, but also to facilitate some sort of centralization that is currently lacking and can often encouraging data seeking via Google anyways. Link to a slide show about the project (middle of the page). Continue reading Something to keep an eye out for: Google Data

When Form can Overwhelm Content

I am not a visually oriented person or, more appropriately, I am less than stellar at design.  This may not be a surprise to anyone that has seen my attempts to assemble a wardrobe, but this is also true in the sense of organizing information – whether it is in a paper, on a poster, or for a conference presentation.  As such, I am compelling myself to learn two programs/languages this summer that will both allow me to overcome my shortcomings ~ LaTeX and R.  Yes, my devotion to wysiwyg interfaces and minimal .do files might be crumbling a bit.  Continue reading When Form can Overwhelm Content

When War and Academia Collide

Academics in all subfields of political science often lament that policy and military failures arise from the lack of communication between policy-makers and the academic community.  The recent tragic death of Michael Bhatia highlights some of the issues involved with the tenuous collaboration between those who analyze data and those who generate them, and the sometimes unfortunate consequences.  Bhatia was killed on May 7 in an explosion that targeted the American soldiers with whom he had been embedded in Afghanistan. Bhatia had been teaching at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies as well as working on a doctoral degree Continue reading When War and Academia Collide