Collaborative research and the emotions of overstatement: Four cautionary tales but no funeral

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Collaborative research has grown remarkably in social science, bringing many benefits. Arguments for collaborative research are sometimes overstated, however, and this risks counterproductive consequences. In particular, the presentation of how collaborative research relates to other approaches to research may be problematic. Four issues are explored, concerning the potential consequences of: paying insufficient attention to history; conflating different and better; advancing simplified accounts of complex issues; and courting conflict. These discussions relate to cautionary tales involving diverse emotions: hope and disappointment, pride and shame, love and anger, and hubris and humility. All are variations on the theme that exaggerating a case can unintentionally hamper rather than assist the achievement of high quality, socially useful research. The conclusion advances a methodological pluralist stance, treating collaborative research as one option available to researchers rather than an inherently superior approach, thereby encouraging mutual tolerance and constructive dialogue while reducing the risk of reigniting oppositional ‘paradigm wars’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-60
Number of pages20
JournalGlobal Discourse: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Current Affairs and Applied Contemporary Thought
Issue number1
Early online date10 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020


  • collaborative research
  • emotions
  • methodological pluralism


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