Open letter to British Medical Journal on need to publish more qualitative research

Seventy-six scholars pen an open letter to the British Medical Journal arguing that papers based on qualitative data should not be considered “low priority,” as is common practice across medical journals. “Few research topics in clinical decision making and patient care can be sufficiently understood through quantitative research alone.” Therefore, the BMJ should “develop and publish a formal policy on qualitative and mixed method research…[which] should include appropriate and explicit criteria for judging the relevance of submissions.” They conclude, “We believe it is time for a prospective study to assess whether the BMJ can come to value and be proud of qualitative research as part of its mission to lead the debate on health, inform clinical decision making, and improve outcomes for patients.”

Jennifer Hochschild Responds to Update Letter

Hello all,

Thanks for including me (along with David and Rodney) in this exchange of letters; I appreciate being kept informed about this fascinating and important set of conversations.  I am writing to add a little information to that which is included in them already.

On forums:  The QMMR section is developing a procedure for deliberation over the next few months; the letter below provides a detailed description and invitation to  participate. There is also a more informal and less structured invitation for comments and discussion posted on PSNow, under the heading “Updated Invitation for Deliberation about Research Transparency and Interpretability” (it includes a link to the QMMR process and other useful links).  As I see it, these are complementary forums — roughly speaking, one emphasizes breadth and ease of entry, and the other emphasizes depth and more consistent engagement.  Let’s use both, as well as any other forums that other groups might establish.

On additional information:  the “Bing Powell letter,” also described below, is now posted on PSNow, under the heading “Letter from distinguished political scientists urging nuanced journal interpretation of JETS policy guidelines.”  Please note that in addition to the sections quoted by the letter writers below, a key paragraph reads:

This post is continued here.

Kristin Monroe Responds to Update Letter

First, I want to thank you for the time and care with which you have crafted this letter. I know how much time it takes to do this kind of thing and appreciate your devotion to an important issue. Second, I agree with your views and wish to second the response as you describe it by Bingham Powell about the JETS statement. Third,  I encourage the APSA Council at its next meeting to re-open this issue and to consider fully the kinds of considerations raised by Powell, especially as concerns the tension between ethics, confidentiality and privacy of subjects on the one hand and transparency on the other. I will copy Rodney, Jennifer and David so they can respond as they wish but are included in the conversation.

I was one of the many people who worked to get the Qualitative methods set up, am a member and a recipient of the Sartori prize in 2013. I use qualitative methods extensively in my own work and teaching. I try to publish my data, and have been fortunate enough that the presses I work with have been willing to publish these data in my books, even when doing so increased the number of pages in books that presses would much prefer be shorter. I have placed many of my data — in the form of complete but edited interviews– on line at the UCI Ethics Center.  I want to make these data available to as many scholars as possible both because I believe in openness and transparency and because I know that later scholars, using more sophisticated techniques than those available to me, will have the opportunity to employ these different techniques using my data, many of which are in the form of interviews with people now dead. There findings may well contradict mine or add to earlier findings in important ways, so sharing data is an important part of science. All of which is to say that I believe in data transparency and try to act on that principle as much as possible.

This post is continued here.

20 APSA Presidents Write Letter Urging Nuanced Interpretation of JETS

On the PSNow website, a group of 20 past, present, and future APSA presidents have posted a letter urging journal editors who have signed on to JETS to be cautious in their interpretation of the policies.

“The letter expresses concern about the language in the JETS statement and asks journal editors to clarify how their journals will interpret these policies, so that they promote the goals of data access and research transparency while recognizing the legitimate concerns of scholars whose work includes the creation of original data sets, whose work is partly or wholly qualitative or interpretive, or whose work requires protecting the rights and well-being of human subjects.”

The full post can be found here.