Drew Gitomer, Kevin Crouse, Nikki Dreste and Meged Eisenberg
We recently announced in the William T. Grant Foundation Digest the launch of the Use of Research Evidence (URE) Methods Repository, a new, open resource in development that focuses on the use of research evidence. The Repository is housed in a Collection on the Open Science Framework (OSF), and we welcome contributions in which detailed research methods are catalogued in an open-access format. One of our principal goals in designing this resource is to serve and connect the broad community of stakeholders that engage with and around topics focusing on the Use of Research Evidence (URE). Accordingly, we have designed the Repository so that it can be used in multiple ways that are tailored to the different interests and goals that different potential users have.
As we were designing the Repository, we envisioned an open-access resource for the broad community of URE participants. This includes providing a space for the URE research community to share and display a fuller description of their methodological approaches than typically appear in final publications and making those approaches accessible to those who are interested in discovering or reviewing research methods that are used in URE studies. We saw value in ensuring that practitioners, funders, and others outside of academic research could access all of the resources without needing a paid subscription or institutional account. We also want to engage researchers and graduate students in the social sciences who have not done research in URE but are interested in learning more about the questions and spaces they address.
In this blog post, we describe the most common intended use applications of the URE Methods Repository.
The main focus of the URE Repository is to publish, share, and build off of research methods for the study of URE. The projects can include details about the methods used that may not be included in the published article and that would be useful to share with others. For example, a study involving interviews might include detailed documents such as the interview protocol, the guidebook, or its coding structure. The Repository provides highly flexible templates to assist researchers in organising the presentation of their methods.
Researchers can also utilise this space to:
- identify research efforts that influenced the development of the method(s) and link to research where the method(s) has been used;
- clarify the role that work plays in the context of one’s catalog of research and the work of others;
- explicitly link to foundational and source methods of others that applied or modified in new contexts through the use of OSF’s copying and ‘forking’ feature;
- list multiple authors and have full control over how their work is licensed;
- link to files and resources such as research tools, data sets, and analytic software; and
- update the protocols after initial publication to include new references, links, licensing, context and additions to the methods.
The Repository is also well suited to provide value to research in any phase of development. Researchers can create a project and use it to share the current iteration of a project design, request feedback from the community or provide a central place for organisation. OSF provides a free allotment of storage and integrates with many other services, including Google Drive, GitHub, DataVerse and Dropbox. The URE Repository encourages and welcomes in-progress research, requesting only that there is a disclaimer in the project indicating the current status.
The Repository is also designed as an informational resource for those who wish to learn about and explore URE research. Specifically, users can:
- explore methods, research problems, and subject areas within URE studies and identify key scholars in the field – URE is a meta-disciplinary that spans many other fields, including health policy, criminal justice and education;
- read about methods in more detail while examining actual protocol documents used in published research studies – research in URE encompasses a vast array of methodological approaches, including surveys, interviews, experimental design, grounded theory and social network analysis;
- discover how different URE researchers have studied particular problems; and
- learn how others have innovated upon existing methods.
We invite those within the URE community and in URE-related research spaces to visit our OSF Collection as well as our companion site, uremethods.org. If you are interested in contributing to the Collection, our team is available to provide assistance. We also welcome your feedback and questions on any aspect of the Repository. You can contact us at email@example.com.
Drew Gitomer, Rutgers University
Kevin Crouse, Rutgers University
Nikki Dreste, Rutgers University
Meged Eisenberg, College of New Jersey