Author Archives: Andrew Defty

Beware the alibi of photocopies

There are many intellectual aspirins in Oliver Burkeman’s weekly, ‘This column will save your life’, in the Saturday edition of The Guardian. The column ‘What unread books can teach us’ is particularly pertinent to the budding researcher. In it Burkeman, drawing on observations by … Continue reading

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Writers on writing: Ian Rankin

On the face of it there may be little similarity between the social sciences and crime fiction, but I often find that there is a great deal to be learnt from professional novelists. The one thing we do have in … Continue reading

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On the importance of literature reviews

In a recent article in The Washington Post, Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, neatly summarised the importance of literature reviews in academic papers: Done well, a literature … Continue reading

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The pitfalls of recording interviews

Some sage advice from Telegraph journalist Tom Chivers. For all of those who head out to collect interview data confident that the electronic data recorder in their pocket will meet their every need, always pack a notebook and pen, (better … Continue reading

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The Conservative Party and immigration: a lesson in bad survey design

For some years as part of our undergraduate research methods teaching we have provided students with a mock-questionnaire which has been deliberately designed to enable them to identify the various potential flaws in survey design, and it is hoped, avoid them when they come … Continue reading

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