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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
Studies in countries where assisted dying is legal show that bereaved people express concern over the potential for social disapproval and social stigma because of the manner of death. There are indications that voluntary assisted dying is judged as less acceptable if the deceased is younger. A vignette-based experiment was used to determine whether public stigma (i.e., negative emotional reactions and desired social distance) and expected grief symptoms are higher for conjugally bereaved people through voluntary assisted dying (vs. long-term illness), when the deceased is a young adult (vs. older adult).
A 2 × 2 randomized factorial design was conducted with 164 Australian adults (130 women, 34 men, Mage = 37.69 years). Each participant was randomized online to read one of four vignettes and completed measures of anger, fear, prosocial emotions, desire for social distance, and expectations of grief symptomatology.
A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted. Death at a young age (28 years) was significantly associated with stronger negative emotional reactions of fear ($\eta _p^2 = 0.04$, P = 0.048) and anger ($\eta _p^2 = 0.06$, P = 0.010). There were no differences in outcomes associated with the mode of death, nor was there an interaction between mode of death and age group.
Significance of results
Concerns that voluntary assisted dying elicits public stigma appear unfounded. The fact that participants reported significantly higher anger and fear in response to bereaved people experiencing loss at a younger (vs. older) age, irrespective of cause of death, indicates that young people who lose their spouse might benefit from additional support.
Excavators working in a ceremonial plaza group in the Classic period Lowland Maya city of Caracol, Belize, encountered thousands of pieces of chert and obsidian scattered above a royal tomb. A recent analysis of the chert from this context confirms that the assemblage included pieces from each stage of reduction in the production of blades. Taken together, the quantity of both chert and obsidian makes it the largest reported collection of lithic debitage found at the site and provides insight into the techniques of lithic crafters at Caracol. In this article, we consider the sequence of actions involved in the burial of a high-ranking individual and suggest that the layering of flaked stone above the tomb is reminiscent of other reported above-tomb contexts in the Maya Lowlands. Further, a technological analysis of this collection produced results similar to analyses of assemblages typically found in crafting-intensive residential groups. This finding suggests that lithic crafters throughout the city of Caracol donated flaked stone material for funerary events, providing a protective layer and sealing the grave below.
An intermediate-depth (1751 m) ice core was drilled at the South Pole between 2014 and 2016 using the newly designed US Intermediate Depth Drill. The South Pole ice core is the highest-resolution interior East Antarctic ice core record that extends into the glacial period. The methods used at the South Pole to handle and log the drilled ice, the procedures used to safely retrograde the ice back to the National Science Foundation Ice Core Facility (NSF-ICF), and the methods used to process and sample the ice at the NSF-ICF are described. The South Pole ice core exhibited minimal brittle ice, which was likely due to site characteristics and, to a lesser extent, to drill technology and core handling procedures.
In premodern economic systems where the social embedding of exchange provided actors with the ability to control or monopolize trade, including the goods that enter and leave a marketplace, “restricted markets” formed. These markets produced external revenues that could be used to achieve political goals. Conversely, commercialized systems required investment in public goods that incentivize the development of market cooperation and “open markets,” where buyers and sellers from across social sectors and diverse communities could engage in exchange as economic equals within marketplaces. In this article, we compare market development at the Late Postclassic sites of Chetumal, Belize, and Tlaxcallan, Mexico. We identified a restricted market at Chetumal, using the distribution of exotic goods, particularly militarily and ritually charged obsidian projectile points; in contrast, an open market was built at Tlaxcallan. Collective action theory provides a useful framework to understand these differences in market development. We argue that Tlaxcaltecan political architects adopted more collective strategies, in which open markets figured, to encourage cooperation among an ethnically diverse population.
Evaluation of a mandatory immunization program to increase and sustain high immunization coverage for healthcare personnel (HCP).
Descriptive study with before-and-after analysis.
Tertiary-care academic medical center.
Medical center HCP.
A comprehensive mandatory immunization initiative was implemented in 2 phases, starting in July 2014. Key facets of the initiative included a formalized exemption review process, incorporation into institutional quality goals, data feedback, and accountability to support compliance.
Both immunization and overall compliance rates with targeted immunizations increased significantly in the years after the implementation period. The influenza immunization rate increased from 80% the year prior to the initiative to >97% for the 3 subsequent influenza seasons (P < .0001). Mumps, measles and varicella vaccination compliance increased from 94% in January 2014 to >99% by January 2017, rubella vaccination compliance increased from 93% to 99.5%, and hepatitis B vaccination compliance from 95% to 99% (P < .0001 for all comparisons). An associated positive effect on TB testing compliance, which was not included in the mandatory program, was also noted; it increased from 76% to 92% over the same period (P < .0001).
Thoughtful, step-wise implementation of a mandatory immunization program linked to professional accountability can be successful in increasing immunization rates as well as overall compliance with policy requirements to cover all recommended HCP immunizations.
Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) requires that all faculty and staff receive the seasonal influenza vaccine annually or receive an approved vaccine exemption, either for a medical or deeply held religious or personal belief. We sought to understand the underlying principles behind these exemption requests and their interaction with a multidisciplinary exemption review process.
All of the personal and religious exemption requests at VUMC for 3 consecutive influenza seasons from 2015 to 2018 were analyzed, categorizing these requests by 1 of 12 standardized employee categories and 1 of 18 unique reasons for vaccine exemption.
Tertiary-care academic medical center.
Healthcare personnel (HCP).
Among the 3 influenza seasons, 1.1%–2.1% of all VUMC HCP requested religious or personal exemption from vaccination. The frequency of religious and personal exemption approval increased annually from 296 of 452 (65.5%) to 196 of 248 (80.2%) to 283 of 323 (87.6%) over the 3 seasons, representing a statistically significant increase each year. Of the 5 most common reasons against vaccination, 4 were explicitly religious in nature; the most common reason was that the “body is a temple or sacred.” Nonclinical staff submitted the most religious and personal exemption requests of any job category, submitting approximately one-third of all requests every year.
These results demonstrate how detailed the personal or religious convictions behind vaccine avoidance can be among HCP and how vaccine avoidance stems from much more than simple misinformation regarding vaccination. The intersection between misinformation and personal or religious beliefs provides a unique opportunity to address HCP opinions toward vaccination in an exemption and appeals process like the one described here.