Methodspace is a free scholarly networking site created by SAGE in 2009 for students, scholars, and researchers interested in the area of research methods. The majority of scholars registered to this site are from the United States but there are a significant number of members from all around the world, with members from India and the United Kingdom appearing frequently.
Similar to other scholarly networking sites that we reviewed previously (e.g., Mendeley, ResearchGATE and Academia.edu), after signing up for an account, you can create a profile, connect with other users, join or form groups, and link to articles related to your interests. You can also add your own content, including interesting journal articles you’ve found, and your own relevant published research. The site essentially strives to be a one stop shop for scholars in this field, combining the capabilities of digital bookmarking and reference management software, discussion forums, an online video repository, a scholarly blog, groups and events for users to join, the ability to synchronize your posts with Facebook and Twitter, and much more.
Although you can access some free content from SAGE such as books and journal articles related to research methods, the site’s main purpose is to engage scholars in communication and collaboration on this topic. Anyone can access the site, but you must be a registered member to access the “Chat” forum or leave comments on other member’s content. One of the main benefits of this sites’ association with SAGE, recognized as the leading publisher of research methods, is access to some relevant journal articles and books for free once scholars are members of methodspace.com. The site offers a “Book of the month” and a “journal of the month” to its members free of charge.
A drawback of having a major publisher as an owner and moderator of this site, however, is the promotion of SAGE’s products. Although this promotion is not as overt as advertising on sites such as Facebook, products relevant to research methods, such as statistic software, and qualitative analysis software are promoted under the “Resource” tab. It is not clear whether these are paid promotions, but users are free to comment on the usefulness of each which gives more credibility to these tools. Understandably the free content offered is only from SAGE, and is sometimes a ‘teaser’, for example the free “book of the month” only actually gives users free access to the first chapter of the book.
However, the networking benefits far outweigh any drawbacks for this site. The site has appeal for all scholars from PhD students to senior researchers. For scholars just entering their professions, there are forums for job postings, and many groups specifically for students. For more established scholars, there are forums for funding opportunities, the ability to post and promote your research, and create or reply to events such as conferences, workshops, and meetings. Most importantly, for any research methods scholar at any level, are the networking opportunities which are frequent and easy to establish.
Below is our SMiLey rating for the site:
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