social science research
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2022 ◽  
pp. 1-14
Kai P. Purnhagen ◽  
Alexandra Molitorisová

Abstract What type of enforcement is the most effective to punish violations of food law or to prevent them from occurring in the first place? This article examines the question of which mix of private and public enforcement exists in European Union (EU) food law and whether this mix corresponds to the recommendations of existing social science research. Based on this research, we contend that EU-determined enforcement mechanisms differ in effectiveness across Member States. New technologies have the potential to stimulate a novel mix of public and private enforcement tools at the EU and national levels.

2022 ◽  
Paul Bloom ◽  
Laurie Paul

Some decision-making processes are uncomfortable. Many of us do not like to make significant decisions, such as whether to have a child, solely based on social science research. We do not like to choose randomly, even in cases where flipping a coin is plainly the wisest choice. We are often reluctant to defer to another person, even if we believe that the other person is wiser, and have similar reservations about appealing to powerful algorithms. And, while we are comfortable with considering and weighing different options, there is something strange about deciding solely on a purely algorithmic process, even one that takes place in our own heads.What is the source of our discomfort? We do not present a decisive theory here—and, indeed, the authors have clashing views over some of these issues—but we lay out the arguments for two (consistent) explanations. The first is that such impersonal decision-making processes are felt to be a threat to our autonomy. In all of the examples above, it is not you who is making the decision, it is someone or something else. This is to be contrasted with personal decision-making, where, to put it colloquially, you “own” your decision, though of course you may be informed by social science data, recommendations of others, and so on. A second possibility is that such impersonal decision-making processes are not seen as authentic, where authentic decision making is one in which you intentionally and knowledgably choose an option in a way that is “true to yourself.” Such decision making can be particularly important in contexts where one is making a life-changing decision of great import, such as the choice to emigrate, start a family, or embark on a major career change.

Sensors ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 22 (2) ◽  
pp. 568
Bertrand Schneider ◽  
Javaria Hassan ◽  
Gahyun Sung

While the majority of social scientists still rely on traditional research instruments (e.g., surveys, self-reports, qualitative observations), multimodal sensing is becoming an emerging methodology for capturing human behaviors. Sensing technology has the potential to complement and enrich traditional measures by providing high frequency data on people’s behavior, cognition and affects. However, there is currently no easy-to-use toolkit for recording multimodal data streams. Existing methodologies rely on the use of physical sensors and custom-written code for accessing sensor data. In this paper, we present the EZ-MMLA toolkit. This toolkit was implemented as a website and provides easy access to multimodal data collection algorithms. One can collect a variety of data modalities: data on users’ attention (eye-tracking), physiological states (heart rate), body posture (skeletal data), gestures (from hand motion), emotions (from facial expressions and speech) and lower-level computer vision algorithms (e.g., fiducial/color tracking). This toolkit can run from any browser and does not require dedicated hardware or programming experience. We compare this toolkit with traditional methods and describe a case study where the EZ-MMLA toolkit was used by aspiring educational researchers in a classroom context. We conclude by discussing future work and other applications of this toolkit, potential limitations and implications.

PLoS ONE ◽  
2022 ◽  
Vol 17 (1) ◽  
pp. e0261694
Nikki E. Bennett ◽  
Silvio Ernesto Mirabal Torres ◽  
Peter B. Gray

Mars Petcare introduced the first direct-to-consumer domestic dog genetic test in 2009 and Basepaws introduced the first direct-to-consumer cat genetic test in 2016. Social science research has evaluated numerous aspects of the human direct-to-consumer market, yet no such exploration has evaluated the occurrence of pet owners pursuing pet genetic tests. Using a mixed methods approach, we conducted an exploratory content analysis of direct-to-consumer pet genetic company webpages and consumer reviews shared on Amazon. Initial data reviews indicated some companies may be key industry players, relative to others. Our results present content frequency for each group (key industry players, all other companies), though the primary themes for each remained the same. Analysis showed genetic companies are primarily sharing product and purchasing information, along with trustworthiness to establish the merit of the company and their products. Companies also used statements directed towards pet owners that are suggestive of both pets and “pet parents” benefiting from the test results. The primary themes identified in consumer reviews involved consumers sharing their perception about the tests (e.g., accuracy), what aspects of the test results they focused on (e.g., breed information), and experiences with using the test (e.g., ease of use). Amazon reviews were primarily positive, though the companies with smaller review numbers had higher percentages of negative and ambiguous sentiments. Of interest, reviews most often indicated tests were being used to determine a pet’s breed identity, while companies most frequently promoted the health advantages of using their products. Reviews revealed some consumers respond to tests by sharing their pet’s results with someone or by altering their pet’s care. Considering these results in addition to the growing popularity of this industry and the advancements of genomic technology, further research is needed to determine the role pet genetic testing may have in society and on human-animal relationships.

Abiodun Egbetokun ◽  
Adedayo Olofinyehun ◽  
Maruf Sanni ◽  
Aderonke Ayo-Lawal ◽  
Omolayo Oluwatope ◽  

AbstractNigeria has a very large research system, with nearly 200 universities that employed more than 60,000 academic staff at the end of 2019. The country is also one of Africa’s largest producers of scientific research across all disciplines, surpassed only by South Africa and Egypt. In the social sciences, in particular, Nigeria is Africa’s second-largest producer of published research, after South Africa. However, the country’s social science research (SSR) production does not match the size of its SSR system. Using mixed methods, we come up with two important reasons for this: (i) research inputs are low, mainly because research is poorly funded and researchers devote too little time to research as a result of poor organisational climate, and (ii) the research support system is weak. No single institution currently has a clear mandate to centrally coordinate SSR in Nigeria. Consequently, research efforts are often duplicated and the limited research resources are spread too thin. Moreover, logistical support for research is missing or inefficient in most organisations. Therefore, improving research productivity in the country would require much stronger research coordination and wide-ranging improvements in the research climate.

Michael Grätz

AbstractThe counterfactual approach to causality has become the dominant approach to understand causality in contemporary social science research. Whilst most sociologists are aware that unobserved, confounding variables may bias the estimates of causal effects (omitted variable bias), the threats of overcontrol and endogenous selection biases are less well known. In particular, widely used practices in research on intergenerational mobility are affected by these biases. I review four of these practices from the viewpoint of the counterfactual approach to causality and show why overcontrol and endogenous selection biases arise when these practices are implemented. I use data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) to demonstrate the practical consequences of these biases for conclusions about intergenerational mobility. I conclude that future research on intergenerational mobility should reflect more upon the possibilities of bias introduced by conditioning on variables.

2022 ◽  
Gunnar Sivertsen

The paper describes the full range of publishing and its purposes in the social sciences – from scholarly publishing via professional communication to societal interaction in public media – and how it is represented in five different contexts for research evaluation and funding. The five contexts are: applications for external project funding, applications for positions or promotions, indicator-based institutional funding systems, summative organizational evaluation systems, and formative organizational evaluation systems. The chapter provides a critical discussion of how publications from the social sciences may be filtered out or placed in predetermined hierarchies in these evaluation and funding contexts, and also of how the evaluation and funding procedures can be improved to appropriately represent social science research and publishing.

Lauren J. Wallace ◽  
Margaret E. MacDonald ◽  
Katerini T. Storeng

AbstractThis edited volume treats policy as an ethnographic object. Examining both policy spaces and sites of practice, the chapters illuminate both professionals’ and lay people’s intimate encounters with health policies. By ‘studying up’ and considering the multiplicity of actors and interests involved in global policies for improving maternal and reproductive health, the ten chapters in this volume track the processes and politics of policymaking and the mechanisms of their implementation in diverse contexts in Asia, Africa, Europe and South America. The chapters provide in-depth analyses of the complexities of policy formulation and implementation, the impact of socio-political contexts, as well as issues of local agency, equity and accessibility. Together, they demonstrate the value of ethnography as well as reproduction as a unique site for the generation of rich insights into the working of global health policies and their impacts. Such critical social science research is increasingly recognised as a crucial part of the evidentiary basis upon which people-centred and equitable health policy and systems everywhere are built. This volume will be of interest to scholars working at the intersection of critical global health, medical anthropology, and health policy and systems research, as well as to global public health practitioners.

2022 ◽  
pp. 442-460
Amanda Vettini ◽  
Ruth Bartlett

The focus of this chapter is the use of video-diaries in social research. The aim is to examine and reflect upon the particular ethical terrain and situated ethics of using visual diary method in social science research with different participant groups who arguably present specific ethical concerns, including children and older people, people with disabilities (either physical, cognitive, or psychiatric), and older people. The authors present a discussion of the specific ethical considerations arising from the use of this method due to the particular type of data it generates, namely audio and moving visual data. As such, the process of creating a video diary and the procedures involved in collecting and analysing video diary data are fundamentally different from a paper-based (non-digital) diary. For these reasons, it is important to step back and reflect on the situated ethics, including the digital ethics encountered when using this method.

2022 ◽  
pp. 604-622
Anindita Majumdar

The popularity of qualitative methods in social science research is a well-noted and most welcomed fact. Thematic analysis, the often-used methods of qualitative research, provides concise description and interpretation in terms of themes and patterns from a data set. The application of thematic analysis requires trained expertise and should not be used in a prescriptive, linear, and inflexible manner while analyzing data. It should rather be implemented in relation to research question and data availability. To ensure its proper usage, Braun and Clarke have propounded the simplest yet effective six-step method to conduct thematic analysis. In spite of its systematic step-driven process, thematic analysis provides core skills to conduct different other forms of qualitative analysis. Thematic analysis, through its theoretical freedom, flexibility, rich and detailed yet complex analytical account has emerged as the widely used and most effective qualitative research tool in social and organizational context.

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