Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

Open science, e-science and the new technologies: challenges and old problems in qualitative research in the social sciences

Ercilia García-Álvarez, Jordi López Sintas


Purpose: As well as introducing the articles in the special issue titled Qualitative Research in the Social Sciences, this article reviews the challenges, problems and main advances made by the qualitative paradigm in the context of the new European science policy based on open science and e-Science and analysis alternative technologies freely available in the 2.0 environment and their application to fieldwork and data analysis.

Design/methodology: Theoretical review.

Practical implications: The article identifies open access technologies with applications in qualitative research such as applications for smartphones and tablets, web platforms and specific qualitative data analysis software, all developed in both the e-Science context and the 2.0 environment.

Social implications: The article discusses the possible role to be played by qualitative research in the open science and e-Science context and considers the impact of this new context on the size and structure of research groups, the development of truly collaborative research, the emergence of new ethical problems and quality assessment in review processes in an open environment.

Originality/value: The article describes the characteristics that define the new scientific environment and the challenges posed for qualitative research, reviews the latest open access technologies available to researchers in terms of their main features and proposes specific applications suitable for fieldwork and data analysis.

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