In the framework of the Ghent-base project 'Established and Emerging Methods: Uses and Variation', a two-day seminar was organized with the main emphasis on qualitative research methods, both established and emerging, as undertaken by doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers and senior professors. The seminar involved academics from three of the U4 universities: Ghent, Uppsala and Groningen.
The aim of the seminar was two-fold. On the one hand it sought to produce an inventory of practices and approaches in qualitative research across U4 universities. On the other hand, it aimed at generating a scientific community between researchers, upon which a long-term collaboration can be built.
Because of the relative isolation of qualitative researchers, who represent a strong minority in the social sciences, there is a strong need to network more actively with regard to scientific methods and devices. In this view two Ghent team members generated a portfolio of qualitative researchers working at the partner universities, and actively encouraged them to take part in this initiative.
A call for application resulted in eight papers adressing methodological challenges in the field of social sciences. In the subsequent discussions plans were drawn for future joint initiatives with the aim of exploring issues common to qualitative research across subjects and areas, such as contradictions, vulnerability and risks that scholars face. The partners agreed to develop these along with other issues into a special volume or edited collection.