It’s the first Friday of the summer season! We’re celebrating with a dual emphasis getting money to support your research and translating your research into “language” (construed in its broadest sense) accessible to laypersons, policymakers, elected officials, organizational stakeholders, and others in the “public sphere” who have a direct stake in the implications of your scholarship.
Before going any further, however, let me once again draw your attention to the “sidebar” (the right-hand column of this newsletter). It’s always bursting with useful, sometimes jaw-dropping nuggets of information and insight. This week you’ll find a link to some really useful tips for using cross-tabulation in your research. The cross-tab might be one of social science’s most used and most useful conventions, and it’s a technique that spans methodologies. Ethnographers and qualitative investigators are just as likely to use them as are epidemiologists and large scale survey researchers. If you don’t use cross-tabs, I encourage you to check out the Qualtrics tips anyway — it’s quite possible that you’ll be motivated to start using them!
Also in our sidebar is a link to a CFP for the Conference on Inter-Asian Connections. In my opinion, it’s one of the best conferences of its kind—a hybrid of social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. You’ll see that it’s co-sponsored by our “sister” organization, the Social Science Research Council. Plus it’s being held in Hong Kong, one of my favorite cities. If you haven’t attended this particular conference or been to Hong Kong, I strongly encourage you to consider presenting your research at the June 2012 meetings. You won’t be sorry you did.
If you’re reading this newsletter, then I’m pretty certain that you would like someone to give you money to do your research. Imagine being able to teach 3 courses a year and spend the rest of the time systematically investigating whatever “hot topic” consumes your interest right now. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Although DePaul is primarily a teaching institution, we’re all expected to be active teacher-scholars. SSRC exists to support, nourish, and amplify the infrastructure upon which you perform as a scholar, which in turn impacts your teaching capacity and performance. So check out these funding tips and come see us if you want us to help you get that money!
Finally, I want to write a bit on what I’m calling visual digital data storytelling (VDDS). In this newsletter you’ll find a couple of articles dealing with the visualization of digital data, not for its own sake, but for the purpose of telling a story, and not just any story, but a story about the real-world implications of empirical research. These days it seems that everyone’s joining the race to create the most effective and user-friendly data visualization tools (or if they’re already in the race, they’re vying for the pace-setter’s position). SSRC has been a competitor in this race for a few years now. Indeed, one of our objectives is to be setting the pace of the race within the next 3 years!
If you’d like to talk to us about VDDS, please give us a call or drop us a line. We will help you think through how to collect and analyze intrinsically visual data, how to visualize data that were initially non-visual, and how to “package” your research into one of the most widespread, entrenched, and dynamic medium of communication: Video. Good research is meaningless if it never gets communicated to the world outside of the researcher’s office or laboratory. Research in the humanities and social sciences arguably boils down to “telling stories about society” (a la Howard Becker). Remember, your research is our business, and we love to tell stories about research. So pay us a visit, and let us help you tell the story that needs to be told. Have a terrific weekend!
Greg Scott, PhD
Director, Social Science Research Center