EVENT: The interconnectedness of methodological and pedagogical innovation

EVENT: The interconnectedness of methodological and pedagogical innovation

Sarah Lewthwaite and Melanie Nind.

13:30-15:00, 7th April, 2016. ā€˜The interconnectedness of methodological and pedagogical innovationā€™, British Sociological Association Conference, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.

Sarah Lewthwaite and Melanie Nind will be presenting results from our Expert Panel research at the forthcoming BSAĀ Conference in a peer-reviewed paper: ā€˜The interconnectedness of methodological and pedagogical innovationā€™. This paper is given as part of the Methodological Innovations stream and the session will also feature a paperĀ from the National Centre for Research Methods workpackage 6Ā Quantitative Methods Pedagogy Project.


There are increasingly well-understood incentives to innovate in social science research methods, spurred by factors including the affordances of new technologies, a pluralistic methods culture, and the value placed on innovation and interdisciplinarity by research councils. While some claims to innovation are exaggerated, researchers respond to a fast-changing social and data landscape – in which methods gaps call to be filled – with processes of inception, adaptation and adoption of methods. Simultaneously, corresponding calls to build methodological capacity amongst researchers are inevitable. To this end, our research explores the nature of innovation in methods and the sometimes-interconnected innovation in the teaching and learning of those methods. Using expert panel method, we have conducted interviews with eight UK and 13 international specialists/leaders in the teaching and learning of advanced research methods. Following thematic analysis, we have explored the resonance of key ideas across experts and among methods teachers and learners.

In this paper we discuss the contextual nature of both kinds of innovation, the sustainability issues, and the overlap in the communities involved in both tasks (e.g. how methods learners advance methods). We explore the risks and rewards of innovation as those involved straddle the ground between the established and the new, creatively respond to necessity, tackle inertia and contribute to a culture of sharing and developing both methodological and pedagogical expertise. We ask whether new research methods demand new pedagogies and look at the role data play in the moving interplay of methods for research and methods for teaching.