Sexual abuse, silences and sources: Did the Victorians better protect their vulnerable children?

Workhouse Tales

A recent news item on the Nature web site discussed a ‘severe publication bias’ in the Social Sciences:

‘When an experiment fails to produce an interesting effect, researchers often shelve the data and move on to another problem. But withholding null results skews the literature in a field, and is a particular worry for clinical medicine and the social sciences.’

This can also be a problematic issue in historical research, if sufficient data or sources are unavailable, then the project or research questions are often non-starters and, as with the Nature article’s findings, does the historian turn to different questions and projects where sources are available and thus leave the more difficult questions unanswered? Of course with digitisation more historical sources than ever are easily searchable and more accessible. Online blogging has multiplied the visible literature on a huge range of topics. I have spoken widely and written in JVC Online about the lack…

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