“rigour” evaluation

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    How to evaluate the”rigour” of a given piece of research?


    Hi Badre
    Being basically trained in geography during days when emphasis was placed on the use of quantitative methods, so I have some elementary training in these methods. I observed a revolution in the volume of theses submitted to the Department of Geography, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh (India) whereby it reduced from 700-1000 pages to 150 or less. Of course, quantitative methods inevitably result in the parsimony of presentation of one’s results and conclusions with much conviction of rigor and reliability.
    However, in these final years of my teaching career I am convinced that rationality is broader and more diverse than the instrumental or empirical rationality. Human beings and society can not be reduced to certain numbers. Reality is much complex and irreducible. From my own experience, “place” has several complex dimensions that can neither be expressed in any exact formula of mathematics nor comprehended by stochastic method/formula as contrasted to “space” the geometry and organisation of which have been reduced in scalar, vector and other values. In a research on perception of environmental quality of localities of a city my students showed various scenarios of planned and ecologically sound locality, using soft methods it is possible to determine intra-rate reliability, when the researcher visited the respondents again with same sketches but showed them in different order their preferences were observed at quite variance even educated and environmentally conscience respondents were found to give opposite choices. The survey was conducted thrice again with different sequences of sketches and results were nowhere near to the previous surveys. This is a telling story of even soft data. Einstein once pointed out that imagination is more important than information (figures, facts etc.). May be he was referring to the realms where certain so far unrelated observation had to be put into the form of theory or where experimentation was not possible. However, it is a fact that qualitative research through observation or participation without reducing one’s observations or experiences into numbers may contribute much more to our understanding of human beings and functioning of the societies or communities than whatever quantitative research adds to our knowledge. Question is not of rigour in presenting parsimoniously methods and results, the moot point is the impact of the research piece on the peers and on society in general. In a current article/editorial of a current issue of Science it is pointed out that impact of a research paper is independent of the rating of journal but depends on the its impact on the practitioners in the field.
    You need not worry about the rigour and parsimony of presentation, if refrees find value in your research they would necessarily recommend its publication. Question is not of number of words rather substance of the research.


    Dear Bader,
    I think that the evaluation of the “rigour” of a search for refere is a complex evaluation. It regards the methods of analysis used, the results obtained and if the search is innovative.
    Best regards, Giuseppina


    Dear Prof. Khan,
    I think the your message that point to the substance of the search is very right and correct. I am in according with you.
    Best regards, Giuseppina

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