CALL FOR ARTICLES
RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences
ISSUE ON: Building an Open Qualitative Science
The qualitative research tradition appears to be on an upward trajectory. In the last five years alone, qualitative scholars have generated a raft of influential findings within such core social science areas as poverty and material deprivation, residential segregation, policing and the criminal justice system, health disparities, immigration and ethnicity, housing and eviction, public surveillance, populism and the radical right, and science and genetics. This influential line of recent qualitative scholarship is joined by an equally influential stream of “fast science” qualitative journalism appearing in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and all manner of other media outlets. The country depends heavily on these two streams of qualitative work to build a richer basic science, to develop policy, and to understand ongoing crises and new developments in real time.
Although no one could dispute the profound impact of these scholarly and journalistic streams of qualitative work, the growing success of the form has also made it a target of criticism, much of it raising concerns about replicability, transparency, and representativeness. In some cases, this “open science” criticism comes in an overtly hostile form, a type of criticism that’s focused on discrediting the tradition in its entirety or, alternatively, advocating on behalf of particular variants of it.
The American Voices Project (AVP), the country’s first platform for conducting qualitative interviews with a nationally representative sample, was also spawned by this growing commitment to open science but instead proceeds by developing a new qualitative form that’s intended to stand side-by-side with the already immensely successful existing variants. The AVP’s simple objective is to begin the task of building a new qualitative research form that rests on representative samples, open data, and secondary analysis and that’s intended to supplement—rather than replace—existing qualitative forms.
The purpose of this call for articles is to roll out this AVP-based qualitative analysis by opening up the AVP dataset to qualified scholars and analysts. We welcome research on the many topics—including health, poverty, politics, protest, employment, coping, and anomie—that the AVP interviews can assist in understanding. Although most issues of RSF are topically focused, this issue will be topically broad and is instead unified by a commitment to exploring the hopefully broad payoff to this new form of qualitative data collection. The balance of this call discusses the design of the AVP, the topics covered in the interview schedule, and the types of research questions that it opens up and that are supported by this call.
Submission instructions and timeline
To secure the interview and survey protocols and a sample interview, please submit the nondisclosure agreement here. After doing so, prospective contributors can apply by submitting a CV, an abstract of their study (up to two pages in length, single spaced), and supporting tables, figures, pictures, references, or other relevant material (up to two additional pages). These should be submitted by no later than 5 pm EST on January 5, 2022 to https://rsf.fluxx.io. (NOTE: If you wish to submit a proposal and do not yet have an account with RSF, it can take up to 48 hours to get credentials. So please start your application at least two days before the deadline.)
All submissions must be original work that has not been previously published either in part or in full. Only abstracts submitted to https://rsf.fluxx.io will be considered. Each paper will receive a $1,000 honorarium when the issue is published. All questions regarding this issue should be directed to Suzanne Nichols, Director of Publications, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and not to the email addresses of the editors of the issue.
A conference will take place at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York City on December 9, 2022. The selected contributors will gather for a one-day workshop to present draft papers (due a month prior to the conference on 11/11/22) and receive feedback from the other contributors and editors. Travel costs, food, and lodging for one author per paper will be covered by the foundation. Papers will be circulated before the conference. After the conference, the authors will submit their revised drafts by 2/22/2023. The papers will then be sent out to three additional scholars for formal peer review. Having received feedback from reviewers, the editors, and RSF, authors will revise their papers by 8/17/2023. The full and final issue will be published in spring 2024. Papers will be published open access on the RSF website as well as in several digital repositories, including JSTOR and UPCC/Muse.