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This question asks what empirical research exists on the subject of increasing salary by changing jobs versus seeking promotions in the same company. That sounds on-topic to me, but it's been closed by the community. One comment said it was asking for links to other resources. I commented:

I think a good answer to this question would describe this empirical research, not just point to it. That seems like an on-topic question to me.

Chad responded:

I would agree if someone asked a question that said I have this reseach can someone explain what it means in this context. Asking for the research is not though.

Actually, I would think that "explain these research results to me" would be off-topic for us, unlike "what is the research". But I digress.

This isn't the first question asking about evidence/research on a workplace topic we've gotten. That one was pretty well-received by the community and got a good answer (not just a link).

I still don't see the problem with the present question, but obviously at least five community members do (and there are no reopen votes). One of our persistent problems is questions that seek and/or attract opinion-based, unsourced answers -- here we have a question that's explicitly asking for sources, but it's closed. The topic about which it seeks research is solidly in our scope: it's a question about wages and raises.

Why is this question closed?

  • related (possibly a duplicate): Are request for resource list questions going to be acceptable? See also: Why do we close a poll data question? "The OP... was asking the references of poll results" – gnat Jun 24 '14 at 19:05
  • @gnat I don't think the question here is asking for a resource list. It's asking for the answer, not a list. So not a dupe IMO. – Monica Cellio Jun 24 '14 at 19:07
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    Monica, if you think of it, this is same old rotten list-question in disguise. Neither OP nor we don't know whether there is a single research of this kind or there are many out there (per my observations of these questions, it typically turns into list as time goes by) – gnat Jun 24 '14 at 19:11
  • I agree with Chad and @gnat. If this question gets reopened, I will immediately vote to close. – Jim G. Jun 25 '14 at 1:28
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    do we really want to be flooded by "what evidence there is..." kind questions? I can imagine literally thousands different braindumps, each ending with a smokescreen asking for "evidence" / "research" / "authoritative references" – gnat Jun 27 '14 at 21:23
  • @gnat have we been, in the 2+ years the site's been around? I'm not saying it can't happen, and I'm not saying we wouldn't re-evaluate if it did, but it just strikes me that this particular claim is oft-repeated and rarely if ever supported, so a question about it on our site seems reasonable. Shrug; the community (or meta-using subset of it) obviously disagrees, so I'm not pushing. – Monica Cellio Jun 27 '14 at 21:53
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    @MonicaCellio consider that I for one has been voting to close here any question like that in between summer '12 and site graduation this spring, when I lost CV privileges. Consider also that these closures were most likely supported by some other users with Prog.SE background. This could have some impact on "outside" perception of Workplace being generally unwelcome towards resource requests. But, trust me, let them in and they will leak through... – gnat Jun 27 '14 at 22:15
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    ...Just one or two questions like that make it into hot list and you'll get a wide open door – gnat Jun 27 '14 at 22:15
  • It is ironic that the question asks for empirical research, but the comment that was up-voted the most refers to an article that is just a series of anecdotes – mhoran_psprep Jul 8 '14 at 11:50
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What's wrong with the “empirical research” question?

I think far too often these questions can be interpreted as "I'm too lazy to use search engines, can someone please give me a bunch of links to sites showing 'empirical evidence' for my topic?" As such, I think that should be off-topic (as I've been told that answers in the forms of links are off-topic as well).

I agree with Chad that asking for a discussion about the topic, and perhaps an explanation of the empirical results would be on-topic. In that case though, I would expect that the original poster should present the links resulting from her/his own search, should explain her/his own interpretation, then ask for clarification or alternative interpretations. Basically, the same as I required of my children when they asked for help with their homework: first, show your work.

I think it's hard for someone other than the original poster to "improve" these "empirical research" questions enough to save them, since (at least by my definition) a "good" question like this requires work from the original poster.

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    answers in the forms of links are... officially considered not an answer since recently: Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? – gnat Jun 26 '14 at 13:47
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    @gnat - yup. Thus, a question begging for links to "empirical evidence" is asking for a non-answer. – Joe Strazzere Jun 26 '14 at 13:55
  • yup to your yup. Thus, in turn, such begging is to me the main reason to close vote. When a question is such that link-only garbage legitimately "answers" it, this means it would better be deleted, to avoid creating broken windows – gnat Jun 26 '14 at 14:01
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    @JoeStrazzere ok that makes sense. Thanks. – Monica Cellio Jun 27 '14 at 2:32
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I think you misunderstood my comment. I was agreeing that explain the research to me would be on topic but only if you already have the research you want explained. Go out and find the research and then explain it to me is not what we are here for. We are not a crowd sourced search engine we are a question and answer site.

I could see room for questions that ask "Has their been any research into this and what were the results?" If that is basically what you were trying to say then I agree.

This question is asking for a list(BAD) of research results. They are not looking to have it explained or to find out if it is true.

To make matters worse lets parse the question that they want researched.

Does empirical research indicate whether changing jobs CAN improve your salary? emphasis mine

So here a sample set of one result that says yes is enough provide a yes result. where a sample set of millions of nos is not enough to definitively provide a no result. For this reason there is going to be no research data on this because it is not a question worth researching.

What I think the OP probably actually wants is something like:

Statistically, over X years do people have an increase in overall salary by switching jobs regularly or sticking with one employer?

This question can be asked and answered in our format but the OP does not want our answers they only want a link to an external reference. That question is probably a good question for here, and a great answer should be able to link the OP to the information they desire.

We have a set standards for how our site operates and when you try to go outside of those standards with a question the question is off topic. The question could be modified to be on topic but first the OP needs to concede that a normal Workplace SE answer is desired and rework the question as such.

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    Thanks for this answer. It sounds like you agree that "does changing jobs increase your salary in the long run" is a valid question. To my eye the current question is an improvement on that because it says "and sources, please", but you're reading it as only about compiling a list. I would be fine with your final version if we added something like "I'm looking for research, not anecdotes". (I don't know how you know that the OP doesn't want our answers and only wants a link; where does he say that?) – Monica Cellio Jun 24 '14 at 19:40
  • @MonicaCellio - I get that by what the OP asked for and what they OP Said both in the question and in comments. – IDrinkandIKnowThings Jun 24 '14 at 20:23
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    I think you misunderstood my comment. I was agreeing that explain the research to me would be on topic but only if you already have the research you want explained. Go out and find the research and then explain it to me is not what we are here for. We are not a crowd sourced search engine we are a question and answer site. +1: For being correct. – Jim G. Jun 25 '14 at 1:26
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True, I am not all that concerned with workplace.SE at all, however this seems to be just plain weird. Why would asking for research be wrong here, whilst at least on UX.se, skeptics.SE, biology.SE, physics.SE and money.SE these questions are either accepted or even encouraged. StackExchange is not meant to answer personal questions (which are deemed too specific), but questions which have future value. Asking for empirical research fits that perfectly. And it's not like the answers will become too long for a Q&A format as long as the question itself is specific enough. It might happen that nobody feels like answering the question, and that's fine, but closing the question as off topic seems like a great great waste.

Additionally, as becomes extremely evident on sites like skeptics.SE, it's never just linking to research, it's also about critically evaluating it's value in the context of the question. The question discussed here for example asks just for the research, but if it would've been phrased like the following

I would like to know if you get more wages by working for the same company and asking for a promotion, or by changing jobs. Please support any answer with proper emperical research, I am not looking for anecdotes.

it seems like a perfect fit for the Q&A format. The difference is that now the focus of the question is on the career path one should take to maximize wages rather than research about which career path one should take to maximize wages, but this unclearity was only introduced by moderator intervention either way.

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    -1: Additionally, as becomes extremely evident on sites like skeptics.SE, it's never just linking to research, it's also about critically evaluating it's value in the context of the question. The question discussed here for example asks just for the research, but if it would've been phrased like the following...: Correct, but it wasn't phrased like that, hence the problem. – Jim G. Jul 7 '14 at 22:59
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    @JimG. However the other answers where arguing against those kind of questions in a far broader context. The original question, before mod intervention, was even worded like that. Additionally the code tags are not meant to be used for quotes. – David Mulder Jul 8 '14 at 6:27
  • Agreed. Except for the part about the code tags. When calling attention to a snippet in a comment, code tags can be very handy. – Jim G. Jul 8 '14 at 10:40

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