Over-research: What, why, when, where, how?

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Over-researched places and topics are something that many scholars experience. Most researchers have a story to tell about their experiences of over-research when we introduce this topic. Worryingly, more than a few research participants also nod knowingly when we mention over-research to them. However, very few talk about it freely or write about over-researched places. Over-research seems to be something reflected on when pointed out but not an issue considered in the planning stages of many projects. This volume aims to change that. Social researchers increasingly need to take account of the presence of other researchers, prior and concurrent studies, saturation of data, and the existing and sedimented narratives that can override their research findings. There is a need for reflexive interrogation of researcher saturation and its consequences. Research itself, and theory building more widely, can be weaker where it is over-reliant on examples which may prove to be outliers or when the applicability of generalisations is over-claimed. Over-research also produces a sample bias: Familiar cases are easier to communicate to other researchers; possibly easier to publish; or conversely, researchers wring dry popular cases. This also raises questions on the nature of research itself: Is it possible to over-research anything or is seeming over-research just poor research? There may be a need for more research in over-researched places but on under-researched topics or groups. This book explores the consequences of theory being developed from research on places that are saturated with other researchers from multiple disciplines.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOver Researched Places
Subtitle of host publicationTowards a Critical and Reflexive Approach
EditorsCat Button, Gerard Taylor Aiken
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781000571158
ISBN (Print)9780367567712
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge Studies in Human Geography

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