Approaching Methodology, a special issue of RMN Newsletter to appear in May 2012.
Questions of method and methodology are often both problematic and elusive. ‘Method’ is easily conflated with ‘theory’ and even ‘argumentation’ or ‘objectives’. Discussions on method have been developing to some degree independently in the research traditions of many countries and diverse fields with emphasis on different types of traditions and corpora. It is important to open discussion on method and methodology on a broadly international and cross-disciplinary level. We would therefore like to open the discourse on method in the emerging discourse space of RMN Newsletter, the international open access bi-annual publication of Folklore Studies / Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, University of Helsinki (ISSN 1799-4497). Our publication promotes cross-disciplinary discussion on diachronic, comparative and source-critical treatments of cultural expression across diverse and intersecting disciplines:
Approaching Methodology will appear as a special issue of RMN Newsletter in May 2012, with Pauliina Latvala (Dr. phil., University of Helsinki) as a guest editor. We would like to invite short contributions (3–10 pages) addressing either specific methodologies or abstract and theoretical questions and problems associated with method and methodologies. We would welcome contributions on any of the following or related themes:
– Defining ‘method’: What is a ‘method’? Why is ‘method’ often problematic for researchers in a way that e.g. ‘argument’ is not?
– Method and methodology in a particular field: What is the relationship between a particular method or methodology in the history of discourse? – in the present day?
– Method, theory, argumentation and dominant research paradigms: What is the relationship between method and theory? – between method and argumentation or dominant paradigms in a discipline?
– Method and research objectives: To what degree should research objectives be determinant factors in the choice of method or methods? To what degree can method condition research objectives or findings either directly or indirectly (e.g. through data selection)?
– Established methods: What are the problems or benefits of methods currently employed or established in a discipline? Are certain established methods complementary or contradictory?
– Outdated methods: Are there elements or features of older methods that have been rejected or fallen out of favour that can have value and relevance today? What do statements such as, “[a certain scholar] was right for the wrong reasons”, inform us about particular methods?
– New methods: We would welcome the introduction of new or emerging methodologies and opening those methodologies for international discussion.
When addressing specific methods, please focus on the method, why it was chosen or developed, how and why it was or was not effective, etc., rather than focusing on the specific findings of your own research. We would like submissions to be oriented to discussion and engagement in discourse, and reasonably accessible to scholars from other fields.
Approaching Methodology will be subject to a length restriction as a whole, requiring us to limit the number of contributions. The deadline for participation in Approaching Methodology will be earlier than the standard deadline for RMN Newsletter. This will allow us the opportunity to work with contributors and to coordinate contributions with one another prior to publication. The completed 3–10 page submission will have a deadline of Monday, January 15th, 2012, allowing contributors to respond to comments and coordinate their papers with other authors in February and March, with final language-checking in the beginning of April. If you are interested in participating in this international and cross-disciplinary discussion, please submit a 500 word abstract of your proposed contribution, with your name, affiliation and contact information to Pauliina Latvala (firstname.lastname@example.org) by Friday, 30th September, 2011.
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