Thursday, November 5, 2015

Spotlight on Research: Harvard Kennedy School’s Faculty Research Working Paper Series

November 5, 2015
By Meghan Guidry

How can the political ideologies of American lawyers be quantifiably measured? What can London’s developmental history teach us about sustainability and policy-making? And how well do middle school math initiatives prepare students for college?

These are just a few of the questions being asked by HKS faculty in the Faculty Research Working Paper Series (FRWP), the Kennedy School’s forum for cutting-edge social research in progress. Since its founding in 2001, the FRWP has published nearly 700 working papers, many of which go on to become books, journal articles, and the foundations of major research initiatives.

While the scholarship and research evident in these papers is a boon to the University, the true power of the series is that it gives researchers the opportunity to share insights on work-in-progress, and to collaborate with colleagues and stakeholders around the world. This real-time collaboration helps generate new insights and new hypotheses across the social sciences by engaging scholars, practitioners, and informed citizens in an ongoing dialogue about the impact of new research.

Take Professor Maya Sen, for instance. Her paper “The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers” was originally published jointly by the FRWP and the University of Chicago. Sen’s ambitious paper offered the first comprehensive study of the political ideologies of American lawyers. But for Sen, getting her research out into the world was only the beginning. “Very astute readers from around the world have emailed us with comments and questions. It's been very productive, very public exchange.” Using reader comments, Sen and her co-authors further revised “The Political Ideologies of American Lawyers,” which is now slated for publication in The Journal of Legal Analysis.

In order to promote new research and scholarship by Kennedy School faculty, the HKS Research Administration Office, in collaboration with the HKS Office of Communications and Public Affairs, has been increasing its efforts to bring new readers to the Faculty Research Working Paper Series. Using the @HKS_Research Twitter handle, the RAO promotes every new working paper to thousands of followers around the world. Coupled with the quarterly Social Science Research Network E-Journal, which showcases six HKS faculty working papers, the RAO hopes to bring even more attention to the cutting-edge research being generated by the HKS faculty.

To learn more about the working paper series, please visit the Faculty Research Working Paper homepage on the Faculty Research Connection. For the latest Faculty Research Papers, please follow HKS Research on Twitter: @HKS_Research.

For more information about the working paper series, or other questions about research publications and dissemination, please contact Meghan Guidry: