News

Big Ideas for Big Data on the impact of research funding: Julia Lane and the opportunity of IRIS

State-level spending flows from one federally-funded research university

If you want to know the impact of research funding, says science and innovation policy guru Julia Lane (NYU/Wagner and Center for Urban Science and Progress), you need a system that puts people, and not publications, at the center. And if you want to produce this knowledge at the speed and scale of its emergence, she argues, you need to be aware of the challenges and opportunities that lie in using big data in social science. In her April 1 seminar on social science and big data research, Dr. Lane described the IRIS project as one approach that has had to address both these challenges – in a project that has been the challenge of tracing the effects of federally-funded research initiatives into the economy and society. Dr. Lane’s seminar, sponsored by ISSR and CSSI, was an invitation for social scientists to take charge of the rising tide of questions about the impact of research funding, and to direct it in the scientific tradition – with clear research questions, a conceptual framework, and sound methodological approaches.

ISSR-CSSI Panel explores social roots of the 'replication crisis' in science

The “replication crisis” that is raising questions about the reliability of scientific research has been widely discussed in the fields of psychology and medicine, but has important ramifications for all scientists –social and natural. At a jam-packed April 8 seminar co-hosted by ISSR and the Computational Social Sciences Institute, ISSR Assistant Director Henry Renski (Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning) moderated a panel of five scholars from across the Colleges of Information and Computer Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Social & Behavioral Sciences, as they explored key issues, implications, and attempted remedies that this replication debate has raised. The lively discussion that ensued points to a hunger to respond to the epistemological, methodological and institutional questions that underlie the replication debate.

Social Science Research Methods for a world where Black Lives Matter

The week of March 23-30, 2016 saw an exciting convergence of dialogues and debates across UMass and the Five Colleges, centering on the histories, implications and legacies of Black liberation struggles. The many events sponsored by diverse centers and departments offered and an opportunity to raise the level of our campus’ thought and action in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. The Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR) was pleased to collaborate with the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program (PPVP) to open and close the week’s events with two important conversations exploring how methodological innovation in social science can, and does, offer scholars committed to racial justice a range of pathways for advancing the cause.

Testing the (Un)Importance of Disciplinary Boundaries

Interdisciplinarity – a pursuit of thought and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries that underlies much of ISSR's work – has a value few would dispute in the abstract, but yields important puzzles and challenges in practice. On March 29, Millie Thayer (Sociology) led a panel conversation with four UMass scholars about their journeys toward interdisciplinarity, the historical sources and future evolution of academic boundaries, and the practical and political issues facing those who seek to build research, teaching and public engagement across disciplinary lines.

ISSR and OPD Triple Header supporting graduate student scholars

This Spring, ISSR partnered once again with the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development to offer seminars designed to help graduate student scholars put their best feet forward in the search for funding and employment. These events are just one more expression of the Graduate School’s investment in ISSR’s mission of advancing research excellence at UMass, alongside its support for training and tailored advising delivered throughout the year by ISSR’s Methodology Consultants.

IN TWO WEEKS: ISSR Summer 2016 Methodology Workshops

ISSR Summer 2016 Methodology Workshops

ISSR announces its 2016 summer program in advanced research methods, organized by ISSR's Research Methodologist, Dr. Laras Sekarasih. Space is limited - register early to secure your spot!

Courses will be taught by specialists in their fields as part of ISSR's mission to promote excellence in social science research at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and beyond. These short courses are designed to support the methods and training needs of students, academics, and professionals to enhance their education and research success.

ISSR Director Laurel Smith-Doerr and Graduate RAs Sharla Alegria and Tim Sacco Present at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

Smith-Doerr at White House Office of Science and Technology Policy

ISSR Director Laurel Smith-Doerr and graduate RAs Sharla Alegria and Tim Sacco were invited to present their research on diversity in science teams at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on March 1.  

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