The Art of Guerrilla Research


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A workshop I ran on the idea of Guerrilla research - that is no (low) cost research that relies on free tools, open data, etc and doesn't require permission

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The Art of Guerrilla Research

  1. 1. The art of guerrilla research Martin Weller 5981013497/
  2. 2. Outline • Aim: To explore the concept of guerrilla research: – What is it? – How can I do it? – How might it apply in my area? • 1.30- 2: What is guerrilla research? + examples • 2-2.45: Tony Hirst • 2.45 – 3.30: Activity • 3.30 – 4: Discussion
  3. 3. What is guerrilla research? Guerrilla research methods are faster, lower- cost methods that provide sufficient enough insights to make informed strategic decisions (Ross Unger and Todd Warfel)
  4. 4. Afforded by digital, network & open
  5. 5. The research process • Have an idea • Write a proposal • Submit proposal • {wait} • Get funding • Do research • Write paper • {wait} • Publish • Have an idea • Do research • Blog it
  6. 6. DIY • Create a journal • Interrogate data • Disseminate findings • Create a community • Collaborate
  7. 7. “what’s important here is that Zuckerberg’s genius could be embraced by half-a-billion people within six years of its first being launched, without (and here is the critical bit) asking permission of anyone. The real story is not the invention. It is the platform that makes the invention sing.” (Larry Lessig)
  8. 8. The manifesto 1. It can be done by one or two researchers and does not require a team 2. It relies on existing open data, information and tools 3. It is fairly quick to realise 4. It is disseminated via blogs and social media 5. It doesn’t require permission
  9. 9. Relationship with ‘traditional’ research • We think of research as having a certain shape and size • This extends that
  10. 10. Complementary • Demonstrate potential of further work • Altmetrics as indicator of interest • Get ideas/collaborators for bigger project • Increase personal profile
  11. 11. More efficient? 12 days for a conventional proposal was the average (RCUK 2006) ESRC - only 17% of bids were successful in 2009-10 RCUK = 2006 £196 million on applications to the 8 UK research councils 2800 bids submitted to ESRC in 2009-10, an increase in 33% from 2005-6 ESRC - 2000 failed bids x 12 days per bid = 65 years of effort
  12. 12. Example1: The rich world of travel blogsGuided by a Bourdieusian lens, this article examines the negotiation of authenticity, distinction and identity in the websites and blogs of companies and tourists during the 2010 spring Mt Everest climbing season. (Kane 2012) This paper provides a discussion of the strengths, weaknesses and implications of using content analysis and narrative analysis on travel blogs The research reviewed the published literature and real-life examples of destination marketing organizations and tourism enterprises using blogs as part of their business strategy One important form is traveling, in which self- described “travelers” aim to dissociate themselves from tourism altogether. As travelers, rather than tourists, these people present themselves as engaged in a morally superior alternative that does not create the same problems as tourism.
  13. 13. • No permission • Rich source of data • Would have required interviews, recruitment, budget • Different methodology
  14. 14. Example 2: The meta-journal
  15. 15. • No permission (OA licensed articles) • Quick set up • No business case required • Allows for interdisciplinarity
  16. 16. Example 3: MOOC research Katy doing MOOC, blogs final assignment Picked up by Phil Hill at eliterate Becomes defacto piece on completion rates Invited to submit proposal for funding Conference & journal articles follow
  17. 17. • Used free tools • Openly available data (reports, papers, data) • Relies on open scholarship identity • Led to proper funding and publication • Being used for further bids
  18. 18. Example 4: Facebook app
  19. 19. • No special access to data • No permission required • Spare time • Adopted by OU as official app
  20. 20. Issues • Will someone steal my idea? • Can I account for it in my workplan? • Will it get me promoted? • Do I need technical skills?
  21. 21. Activity • In groups • Decide on one person’s subject area • Come up with a plan for how one (or two) element could be tackled by a guerrilla research approach – What would you need – What would it achieve – Why wouldn’t you do it • Report back
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