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In recent years, a variety of efforts have been made in political science to enable, encourage, or require scholars to be more open and explicit about the bases of their empirical claims and, in turn, make those claims more readily evaluable by others. While qualitative scholars have long taken an interest in making their research open, reflexive, and systematic, the recent push for overarching transparency norms and requirements has provoked serious concern within qualitative research communities and raised fundamental questions about the meaning, value, costs, and intellectual relevance of transparency for qualitative inquiry. In this Perspectives Reflection, we crystallize the central findings of a three-year deliberative process—the Qualitative Transparency Deliberations (QTD)—involving hundreds of political scientists in a broad discussion of these issues. Following an overview of the process and the key insights that emerged, we present summaries of the QTD Working Groups’ final reports. Drawing on a series of public, online conversations that unfolded at www.qualtd.net, the reports unpack transparency’s promise, practicalities, risks, and limitations in relation to different qualitative methodologies, forms of evidence, and research contexts. Taken as a whole, these reports—the full versions of which can be found in the Supplementary Materials—offer practical guidance to scholars designing and implementing qualitative research, and to editors, reviewers, and funders seeking to develop criteria of evaluation that are appropriate—as understood by relevant research communities—to the forms of inquiry being assessed. We dedicate this Reflection to the memory of our coauthor and QTD working group leader Kendra Koivu.1
Use of synthetic auxin herbicides has increased across the midwestern United States after adoption of synthetic auxin-resistant soybean traits, in addition to extensive use of these herbicides in corn. Off-target movement of synthetic auxin herbicides such as dicamba can lead to severe injury to sensitive plants nearby. Previous research has documented effects of glyphosate on spray-solution pH and volatility of several dicamba formulations, but our understanding of the relationships between glyphosate and dicamba formulations commonly used in corn and for 2,4-D remains limited. The objectives of this research were to (1) investigate the roles of synthetic auxin herbicide formulation, glyphosate, and spray additives on spray solution pH; (2) assess the impact of synthetic auxin herbicide rate on solution pH; and (3) assess the influence of glyphosate and application time of year on dicamba and 2,4-D volatility using soybean as bioindicators in low-tunnel field volatility experiments. Addition of glyphosate to a synthetic auxin herbicide decreased solution pH below 5.0 for four of the seven herbicides tested (range of initial pH of water source, 7.45–7.70). Solution pH of most treatments was lower at a higher application rate (4× the labeled POST rate) than the 1× rate. Among all treatment factors, inclusion of glyphosate was the most important affecting spray solution pH; however, the addition of glyphosate did not influence area under the injury over distance stairs (P = 0.366) in low-tunnel field volatility experiments. Greater soybean injury in field experiments was associated with high air temperatures (maximum, >29 C) and low wind speeds (mean, 0.3–1.5 m s−1) during the 48 h after treatment application. The two dicamba formulations (diglycolamine with VaporGrip® and sodium salts) resulted in similar levels of soybean injury for applications that occurred later in the growing season. Greater soybean injury was observed after dicamba than after 2,4-D treatments.
Chapter 4 directly links the regulations introduced in Chapter 3 with public meetings. This chapter focuses on why proposals end up in public meetings and what types of issues members of the public and zoning officials raise. We introduce the novel data on meeting minutes from Massachusetts cities and towns that we use in Chapters 4, 5, and 6. Using these meeting minutes, we trace 100 randomly selected proposals in which we collected especially detailed project and meeting information. We show that once a project requires a public hearing, members of the public raise any and all concerns—not just those directly pertaining to the regulations that necessitated a meeting in the first place. The regulations described in Chapter 3 provide the opportunities for neighborhood defenders to air virtually all of their concerns and objections.
Chapter 2 develops our theory, highlighting how land use regulations and participatory inequalities come together to constrain the supply of new housing. We use a detailed case study of a Catholic Church redevelopment project to illustrate how neighbors opposed to development are able to delay development and reduce what gets built by participating in the planning and permitting process.
Chapter 1 uses several illustrative case studies to introduce the central argument of this book: that land use institutions ostensibly designed to empower underrepresented neighborhood groups actually amplify the power of neighborhood defenders to stop and delay the construction of new housing. We then situate this argument in the broader context of rising national housing costs, and the negative social, economic, and environmental consequences of the nationwide housing crunch.
Chapter 3 uses land use regulation and housing permitting data to: (1) clearly describe how land use regulations operate and (2) statistically link their proliferation with a diminished housing supply. We show how regulations create opportunities for opponents to file lawsuits, and how these lawsuits in turn reduce development. In order to address potential selection bias in our empirical analyses, we then use the redevelopment of Catholic Church properties across the greater Boston area as a natural experiment, and show that zoning regulations of all types decreased the density of the housing built on former church sites.
Chapter 6 then explores how these individuals stymy housing development using a mix of quantitative analysis of meeting minutes, in-depth case studies, and dozens of interviews with government officials, developers, and community activists. We analyze the wide range of concerns raised by meeting attendees and how commenters use in-depth knowledge of local zoning regulations to raise objections to special permits and variances.
Chapter 7 investigates potential policy solutions and the challenges facing building an affordable housing coalition. It uses a mix of elite survey data, interviews, and archival analysis to explore how gentrification has made prospects for reform more challenging, exploring the state-level politics surrounding SB 827 in California and Chapter 40B in Massachusetts. It concludes by outlining: (1) prospects for successful housing reform and (2) how the insights derived from housing politics might apply to other salient policy arenas, such as environmental and immigration policy.