Talking methods, talking about methods: Invoking the transformative potential of social methods through animals, objects and how-to instructions

The blog post investigates if we should be spending more time talking about methods. Human Geographers are playing a key role in developing creative, collaborative methodologies that enable researchers to attend to a range of social, political, and environmental phenomena. But methods are not only important in witnessing global challenges or as tools to gather data. As argued in a recent paper, methods themselves can play a role in transforming ideas, practices and knowledge.

Methods for Change is an Aspect funded project running in two phases from 2020-2023, which seeks to highlight the value of social science methodologies to the wider world. The project collates innovative and transformative methods and demonstrates how they can create change in a variety of non-academic contexts, including: household consumption practices , infrastructures , waste, health and wellbeing, food , cities and sustainable cities, economic change , gender, age , race and ethnicity.

The blog post serves as a useful starting point to understand Ali Browne’s and her Co-PI’s research. It runs through and explains creative research methods, as well as highlights past and future trajectories in their work with Methods for Change.

In the researchers’ work with Methods for Change they found creative talking techniques can help academics understand their own methods in , and to communicate how those methods can create change on global socio-environmental, political, and economic challenges. In 2022 to 2023 Methods for Change continues to engage with academics in the Aspect Network about their methods, exploring spatial, mixed methods and quantitative methods in more detail, and aiming to understand where they are used critically and within interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary collaborations. What’s more, the researchers will analyse how social science methods can be used and embedded in non-academic sectors and will support a range of academics to apply for non-traditional funding to support their uptake outside of the academy.

Blog post available here:

Paper available here:­10.1002/geo2.107

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