Research manifesto

So, it’s been a while since I “launched” my blog on visualizing knowledge…I had this idea of actively starting to blog already during this summer, but it’s almost September and nothing has happened. Until now. The thing is that I attended a conference in Nagoya, Japan, in June and two weeks ago I facilitated a workshop at i.school (Tokyo University, Japan) with five of my colleagues from Aalto University. Both trips were extremely interesting, and I’ll try to blog at least about the workshop (which was called Creating Future Store) later on.

But now, however, I would like to make something public. It’s still work in progress, but I would like to get it “out there” to see what people think about it. Inspired by the Reboot Finland movement, I came up with a research manifesto to reboot research. And here it goes:

  1. Problematizing instead of gap-filling
    1. Following the work of Sandberg & Alvesson (2011), we wish to promote research that aims at problematizing matters rather than filling gaps in the existing literature. We believe that theories are best advanced when we as researchers question underlying norms and assumptions.
  2. Element of surprise should be present in research findings
    1. Talking about research findings before any data has been collected is a no-go. Everything social is interesting and unpredictable, which is why we can never be certain in terms of what we are about to discover. Thus,  our respective disciplines are best advanced when we do not know what our findings will be.
  3. Academic mash-up is encouraged
    1. Combining theories and concepts in a novel and unexpected way is worth trying as long as it is well argued for. We agree not to restrict ourselves by unnecessarily limiting our conceptual and theoretical choices.
  4. Subjectivity is a virtue
    1. Studying the social, cultural, and political is subjective, which is why we should not delimit ourselves by attempting to break free from subjectivity. Being subjective does not make your research bad or uninteresting – as long as you are transparent when it comes to subjectivity.
  5. Research should have a societal impact
    1. In many universities research is being – to a varying extent – funded by the public sector. To show our gratitude towards the public, we agree to participate in building our society with our research findings whenever applicable.
  6. Doing research and communicating the findings should be fun
    1. We conduct research because we love it. If this is the case, why not let it show? Thus, we agree to communicate our findings in a way that makes it fun and worthwhile for our audiences to follow what we are talking about.
  7. Challenging each others as researchers, teachers, supervisors
    1. We believe that questioning is caring. Personal growth is attained through introspection and discussions with others, which is why we recognize our responsibility to help those around us grow. We openly share our knowledge with each other, because we believe that to help everyone.
  8. New research methods
    1. Recognizing the notion that interviews and surveys cannot always provide us with enough empirical material, we are constantly developing and conceptualizing new research methods.
  9. Societal impact through teaching
    1. No matter how great our research findings and/ or theories would be, the best societal impact we as scholars can have is perhaps through those who we teach. By drawing on our research, we wish to provide our students with the ability to think independently and tools (either tangible or intellectual) they can utilize within societies.
  10. No predictable research or teaching
    1. While predictable research and teaching is “the easy way out”, we should try our best to avoid it, since predictability kills creativity, motivation, and our ability to challenge norms.

In addition to the “full” version above, I’ve written media and popularized versions of it. But I think it makes most sense to start with this one.

What do you think about it? Does it make sense? Do we even need one or have you found similar manifestos elsewhere? If so, please do let me – and others – know about them 🙂

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