Researching innovation: in search of the mother of invention in an academic culture of necessity

Bengry-Howell, Andrew and Wiles, Rose and Crow, Graham and Nind, Melanie Researching innovation: in search of the mother of invention in an academic culture of necessity. In: Methods@Plymouth 2011, 19-20 May, 2011, University of Plymouth. (Unpublished)

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Methodological innovation in qualitative methods has been identified as important in improving aspects of the research process although many apparent ‘innovations’ are viewed as the latest ‘fads’ which fail to address unresolved challenges in qualitative research (Travers, 2009). Researchers are under increasing demand to present their research as innovative, as the strategic priorities of funding councils and opportunities to publish within high ranking journals, narrow within a highly competitive market. A study by the authors conducted in 2010, reviewed articles in 14 qualitative methods journals between 2000-2009, and identified 57 studies where authors self-defined their research as comprising qualitative methodological innovation. Innovation claims fell into three categories: adoption (adopting methods from another discipline); adaptation (adapting existing methods); inception (claiming to be the innovator of a new method/approach). This latter category is currently being investigated in a second study, which is examining the development, dissemination and take-up of methodological approaches that have been deemed innovative by their originators and others within the Social Science community. The study comprises case studies of three ‘innovations’: Netnography, Child-led research and Creative Research Methods. This paper draws on a preliminary analysis of themes emerging from interviews with the innovators of each approach, and senior academics that have supported their development. The paper examines the way in which each approach is constituted, positioned and bounded as distinctive, necessary and timely, the rationale for its development, and wider social processes that have led to its ‘academic legitimation’ and take up by other Social Scientists.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: 1. Frameworks for Research and Research Designs > 1.24 Frameworks for Research and Research Designs (other)
Depositing User: NCRM users
Date Deposited: 26 May 2011 10:02
Last Modified: 14 Jul 2021 13:54

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