December 5, 2018

Inga Gaižauskaitė, a New Vice-president for Membership: Introducing Myself

Becoming a member of RC33-ISA has been prompted by participation in the World Congress 2018 in Toronto. I have been presenting in a session organized by RC33 and have attended many of its other sessions. It was exciting to be a part of research methodology-oriented discussions some of which were directly linked to my own professional interests whereas others have stimulated taking wider perspective in general. Therefore, I took a chance to become a part of RC33 community.

My interest in social research methodology has started as early as my studies of Sociology at Vilnius university, Lithuania. I eagerly took every opportunity to be involved in research activities, starting with basic practices as survey interviewer and later taking more responsibilities with each step of growing knowledge and experience. In particular, I have been interested in field work realities of both quantitative and qualitative research and how the interplay of different (un)expected factors leads to successful achievement of research goals or vice versa, creates limits and challenges.

Currently, I work as a junior researcher at Lithuanian Social Research Centre and teach at Vilnius university. The main areas of my research interests cover research on social and political trust, institutions and democratisation, ageing and intergenerational relationships. In parallel to researching the mentioned phenomena I have methodological considerations. My research on trust entails analysis of measurement issues and possible gap between conceptual and operational definitions of both social generalised trust and political trust. Likewise, in current project focusing of well-being of older people one of my tasks is to look for solutions to enhance involvement of older people in survey research (e.g., reaching respondents up to the oldest age cohorts, older people with special needs, living in deprived areas or else) via improvements in recruitment process, adjustment of survey questionnaire format to the needs of older people or involvement of older people in the process of research planning. In the most recent research that I have started with colleagues we are conducting interviews with survey interviewers in Lithuania as we try to gain insights how realities and experiences of interviewer work are linked to quality (or potential issues) of survey data.

In Lithuania, development of sociology accelerated after 1990s both in terms of sociology as an academic discipline and field of research. I am a member of Lithuanian Sociological Association (LSA) which is the main professional community of sociologists in the country. LSA is a member of both ISA and European Sociological Association. Lithuania is also a part of key international comparative studies such as European Values Study, European Social Survey and other.

Joining RC33 of ISA that deals with logic and methodology in sociology is an integral development of my research aspirations. It is a great possibility to gain insights from likewise involved experts from around the world as well as share my own experiences, concerns and discoveries.

Becoming a Vice-president of the board of RC33 responsible for membership is both a great opportunity and a challenge that I am willing to take. During my term I shall be coordinating and promoting RC33-ISA membership. However, I also see it as a pro-active position aiming to develop a plan of expansion of membership as well as being involved in any workings of the committee. Thus, I might be contacting you soon inviting to join RC33-ISA, reminding to extend your membership or encouraging to re-new it.

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