Shifting the Boundaries of Research

Research needs to adapt for the future. The salt of research – the survey – is losing its flavour. As response rates decline and respondents get harder to reach, conventional approaches are losing their power to predict. Social media, mobile computing and a rediscovery of observational data are moving researchers into unfamiliar territories. Boundaries are also shifting as qualitative and quantitative approaches in research are seen to merge and cross over.

At the same time, technology has allowed others to move into what researchers considered their exclusive domain. DIY surveys, Enterprise Feedback Management, data consolidators and the sheer abundance of information freely available on the web are all exerting pressure.

While technology has created these challenges, it is also providing the opportunities for research to reinvent itself. The focus of ASC 2011, our Sixth International Conference, was how technology can provide solutions that will achieve relevance and vitality for research in the years to come.

Our fifteen conference themes aimed to provide a framework for contributed papers which would stimulate discussion during the two day event in Bristol:

  1. Moving towards surveys without questions, including non-verbal questioning techniques, passive data collection, data re-use and more
  2. The realities of sampling in 2011 and how to live with online biases
  3. Developments in graphics and video for research purposes
  4. How to cope with masses of unstructured text: automated text processing and analytics
  5. Geotagging – the opportunities and the risks
  6. Developments and applications of mobile technologies – smartphones, iPad, laptops, Apps
  7. Making surveys fit for purpose: respondent engagement, survey length and the emergence of the “nano survey”
  8. New methods that sit at the edge of qualitative and quantitative research: removing the traditional boundaries
  9. Engaging with online communities – chatrooms, forums, social networks, Twitter
  10. Responding to the challenges and opportunities of Web 2.0 and the potential offered by Web 3.0 (the ‘semantic web’)
  11. Innovations in the presentation of research data: dashboards, data visualization, predictive analytics, perceptual maps, cloud maps, heat maps and others that make research data more accessible
  12. Effective metadata management to deliver large and complex surveys
  13. The role of open source technology within research and what is the future for conventional proprietary software licensing
  14. Triple-S and its future role in the expanding market of research products and services
  15. Securing the next generation of research technologists and the skill sets required

(Website in development – papers & presentations to be uploaded soon!)