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Methods Festival promotes methodological awareness among researchers

Published on 13.5.2019
Tampere University
The year 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of the Methods Festival that is dedicated to increasing awareness of research methods and tools. The festival will take place in Tampere next August. With a lineup of more than 120 speakers, the three-day festival will explore topics ranging from methodological challenges in health and social care research to artificial intelligence and data protection.

The sixth Methods Festival will offer a smorgasbord of sessions for participants to pick and choose from.  Tampere University and the University of Jyväskylä take turns hosting the Methods Festival. This year the event will celebrate its 10th anniversary in Tampere.

“The festival features an extensive selection of presentations and sessions for the participants to enjoy.  Most of the programme will be conducted in Finnish, but the sessions given in English will be streamed throughout the three-day festival,” says Pirjo Nikander, research director at Tampere University.

Breaking away from the conventional conference model, the Methods Festival serves as a forum for researchers to meet and discuss current themes related to research methodology. The programme includes not only lectures and panel discussions but also brief info sessions where the speakers introduce the participants to a research method in about 20 minutes and then encourage the audience to share their thoughts and opinions.

“The info sessions are educational and multidisciplinary. There will be an abundance of sessions to choose from, so you can easily step outside of your comfort zone to gain fresh ideas and insights”, Nikander points out.

The programme goes beyond research methods.

“The world of science is changing and evolving. For example, research ethics is an evolving concept and new types of data are continuously emerging. Researchers should be aware of the goals

and challenges of open science and know how to increase the visibility of their research and highlight their expertise. It is also important to stay up-to-date with new research tools, such as data analysis software,” Nikander describes.

The new higher education community brings added flavour

As the Methods Festival is the brainchild of Pirjo Nikander, she is closely familiar with the subject and yet continues to make new and exciting discoveries. The establishment of Tampere Universities has brought forth interesting new topics for the festival, such as the use of artificial intelligence for multidisciplinary research purposes.

“I am planning to attend, for example, the session titled Designing solutions: practical relevance and theoretical contribution.”

The target group of the Methods Festival consists of researchers, doctoral researchers and all those looking to stay up-to-date with the latest research methods. For example, our alumni are keen to update their methodological competencies. 

“In response to feedback, this year we will offer a session that explores the ideal strategies for teaching students about quantitative and qualitative research methods,” Pirjo Nikander says.

Last time the Methods Festival saw roughly 600 participants come together in Tampere and the 10th anniversary is expected to attract at least as many. The event will bring together people involved in research from 40 different organisations. 

“It is wonderful that the attendees come from such diverse backgrounds. It is a recipe for stimulating discussions,” says Nikander.

Text: Sanna Kähkönen
Photo: Pexels