Louisa Hotson: Social science at the crossroads: the history of political science in the USA and the evolution of social impact.

Just like cigarettes and air travel, the social sciences were much more glamorous in the 1960s than they are today. In the 1960s social science faculties were generously funded and scholars were well-represented among the upper echelons of policy makers. Nowhere was this more evident than in the United States where a new breed of ‘action-intellectual’ descended on Washington – writing in Time Magazine, Theodore… Read more

Brace for impact: making the most of your research

Given the impending doom of the spending review, academics are becoming more mindful of what is expected of them by their political paymasters. A recurring piece of rhetoric around universities is that research should have “impact”. But what does impact really mean, is it a valid metric and should you be chasing it? Impact is the new translation Impact, defined on the Research Councils UK web pages as “positive… Read more

The Contested Value of Social Science in a Digital Culture

By Ziyad Marar Social science seems constantly bedevilled by a mixed press. On the one hand we see its value proclaimed loud and clear such as in the this year’s Campaign for Social Science punchy report ‘The Business of People’ or by figures in the natural and physical sciences who realise that social science is critically important to making progress on a host of problems from global warming to anti-microbial… Read more

Doing Science Differently – Contributions from Social Science and the Humanities to the Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge: Guest blogger Kate Davies

Key words: Ecosystem Based Management, Interdisciplinary, National Science Challenge, Social Science, Sustainable Seas Introduction The introduction of the eleven National Science Challenges, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) over the next ten years, is generating some exciting opportunities for the social science and humanities research community in New Zealand. In… Read more

Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner: Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and their place in the corporatisation of universities

I was privileged to attend a lecture given by Emeritus Professor Graeme Turner on the Place of Humanities in the Corporate University recently, which got me thinking about the parallels between the fight for space that the humanities and social sciences are suffering at New Zealand institutions and what is happening throughout the rest of the world. The war on social sciences and the arts and humanities is hardly apocryphal.… Read more

Grant Giving – Global Funders to Focus on Interdisciplinary

Granting bodies need more data on how much they are spending on work that transcends disciplines, and to what end, explains Rick Rylance. Three arguments are often made in favour of interdisciplinary research. First, complex modern problems such as climate change and resource security are not amenable to single-discipline investigation; they often require many types of expertise across the biological, physical… Read more

Integration of Social Science into Research is Crucial

Social scientists must be allowed a full, collaborative role if researchers are to understand and engage with issues that concern the public, says Ana Viseu. Funders and institutions increasingly prioritize research that addresses the challenges and opportunities of an inherently interdisciplinary world. Policymakers and influential voices in science — including Nature — have also warned of a worrying… Read more

Interview: Emma Uprichard: Most big data is social data – the analytics need serious interrogation

Emma Uprichard, in conversation with Mark Carrigan, emphasises that big data has serious repercussions to the kinds of social futures we are shaping and those that are supporting big data developments need to be held accountable. This means we should also take stock of the methodological harm present in many big data practices. It doesn’t matter how much or how good our data is if the approach to modelling social systems… Read more

Social Science, Snow, and Safety Communications – Why do people ignore safety warnings? Guest blogger Leleiga Taito

Hailing from Upper Hutt, Leleiga Taito is an Honours Student at Massey University studying doing her Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations and Expressive Arts. In October 2014 I was approached by one of my Massey University lecturers about applying for a research scholarship with GNS Science. The scholarship involved living in Whakapapa Village, Mt Ruapehu for a few months during the ski season, doing… Read more

How to write a killer conference abstract: The first step towards an engaging presentation.

Helen Kara responds to the previously published guide to writing abstracts and elaborates specifically on the differences for conference abstracts. She offers tips for writing an enticing abstract for conference organisers and an engaging conference presentation. Written grammar is different from spoken grammar. Remember that conference organisers are trying to create as interesting and stimulating an… Read more