As a publisher, we play a significant role in supporting the development of new research understanding and skills, and in reflecting on emerging agendas and dilemmas, including online data, evidence use, ethical practice, mixed methods, participatory approaches and cross-disciplinary learning.
Our titles on social research methods and research practices span disciplines and embrace new collaborations and ways of working as part of a focus on challenge-led research.
Highlights in this area include the Social Research Association Shorts, which provide academics and research users with short, high-quality and focused guides to specific topics, and the Longitudinal and Life Course Studies journal.
Social Research Methods and Research Practices
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Considerable evidence demonstrates that perceiving oneself as an object of discrimination has negative consequences for mental health. However, little is known about whether this experience is more or less harmful in distinct phases of the life course, consistent with the life course principle of timing; or whether, in accord with the principle of lifespan development, it has long-term implications. We draw on longitudinal data addressing perceived workplace discrimination based on race/ethnicity and gender from the prospective Youth Development Study, covering early adulthood to midlife. Hierarchical linear modelling of the effects of discrimination on depressed mood indicates that both forms of discrimination have short-term (within life stages) and long-term (across stages) adverse effects on adult mental health. The impacts of perceived discrimination within stages on depressed mood appear to be greatest in the mid-30s and to weaken by midlife. Lingering effects of discrimination are more pronounced early on. These patterns are observed with controls for key time-varying negative experiences at work and personal socio-economic status, as well as invariant background characteristics (gender, race and parental socio-economic status). We consider these findings in relation to the dynamics of personal change in the context of occupational careers.
John Bynner is a leading advocate of considering context in life course research. In this paper I review some of the ways contextual information on time and place may enrich the analysis of individual histories, as well as vice versa. I take three examples from my own research: (1) a late 20th century analysis of adult health and mortality in Britain where individual and area level evidence are combined; (2) a cross-national analysis of neighbourhood and family predictors of child outcomes at age five in Britain and the US from the early 2000s; and (3) workplace as the context of segregation and the gender pay gap in Britain as it changed over several decades to 2015. The article ends with a discussion of the pros and cons of incorporating contextual evidence in longitudinal survey data sets with reference to the UK Millennium Cohort Study, which John Bynner helped to bring into existence.
To extend work careers, it is important to focus on all working-aged people including young adults. The aim of this study was to identify typical patterns of work participation among young adults after their first entry into the labour market and to examine whether the timing of entry together with parental and own socio-economic position and health predict early work participation. More in-depth understanding of early careers and their early determinants is important to plan targeted interventions and to promote more stable work participation among young adults.
We used the Finnish Birth Cohort 1987 including data from several registers from all 59,476 children born in 1987 as well as their parents, followed until 2015. We estimated a mixture Markov model that allowed for joint identification of latent classes of labour-market attachment, estimation of labour-market transitions within classes, and prediction of class membership using childhood social and health-related determinants.
We observed that the first entry into the labour market as measured by six months in continuous employment was not a permanent entry for many, not only due to negative reasons such as unemployment and ill health but also due to more voluntary reasons such as studies. Individuals entering the labour market at a later age were more likely to be in continuous employment thereafter. More advantaged background predicted exits due to studies or – when following a late entry – stable employment, while disadvantaged background factors predicted more unstable work and long-term exits from the labour market.
This concluding chapter revisits the key characteristics of participatory research and links them with wellbeing and social justice in order to give the reader a framework within which to create positive social change with communities.
This chapter is concerned with the practical task in ‘getting on with’ research. Key aspects of research are presented here that are often neglected in other research texts including project management, teamwork and problem solving. These are vital keys to successful research. The chapter also acknowledges the ‘messiness’ inherent in most research rather than making it look neat and tidy. Once you have completed a research project it is important to review how well the process went and how impactful the findings have been in order for everyone to gain the most learning from the experience – tools for evaluation and review are suggested for ease of use.
This chapter provides a clear and logical set of stages which comprise the research cycle. The rest of the book is organised around each of these stages of research. Working through these stages step by step gives a practical framework to support you and the co-researchers to plan a research project. The chapter provides an overview of what each of the ten stages entail and there is a later chapter focused on each one in more depth. Each of these stages could be the focus of a conversation with your group, or could comprise a workshop and set of formal activities – how much depth and formality is appropriate is entirely up to you.
This chapter describes a range of audiences for research findings in order to support the reader to tailor communication to their specific needs. The chapter guides the reader through a process of identifying key messages to those audiences and the type of output they would be most likely to pay attention to. A range of different outputs are described and a structure for each is suggested. The importance of disseminating research findings in order to achieve social change and to improve social justice is highlighted as a key aspect of participatory research.
This chapter presents an overview of the field of ethics and provides a description of the key ethical considerations in all research and through a participatory research lens. This chapter suggests that, whilst pre-planning ethics is important, it is also the ongoing monitoring of ethics throughout the research project that is particularly valuable. This chapter also highlights the potential to be dealing with two sets of levels of ethical considerations – those that relate to the co-researchers and those that relate to the people they wish to participate in their research.
This chapter provides an overview of common data collection tools to introduce the reader to the wide range of possibilities. A description of each data collection tool is provided along with design tips. The further reading section provides the reader with additional resources to follow up on any tools that are of interest. Attention is drawn to the data collection tools that are particularly good at promoting participation. The chapter highlights potential tensions in who decides on the data collection tools and the amount of knowledge or ‘training’ co-researchers may need in order to do so.
This chapter outlines the key research approaches associated with participatory research. The chapter gives a brief overview of the building blocks of a research approach which include: participatory methods, participatory sampling, types of participation, engagement and recruitment, participatory data collection and analysis, ethics in participatory research, quality in participatory research and dissemination – or sharing findings. The overview of these areas helps the reader to keep research alignment in mind and to understand the particular demands participatory research makes in each. The following chapters explore each of these areas of the approach in more depth.