What are we looking for?
At Flourish, we're looking for change-driven work that considers the route to positive impact in every step of the research process, from selecting a research question to writing concluding remarks. This research is challenging, so we’ve compiled some resources to serve as inspiration for research questions.
We think that the most impactful research addresses questions within the most pressing problems/cause areas. Choosing which cause area to focus on will likely significantly influence how impactful your paper will be, and we broadly agree with the Effective Altruist approach of using an evidence-based framework to work out which are the most pressing problems to work on. Whilst the resources listed on this page recommend focusing on certain problems, we also welcome submissions that argue for priorities outside these research areas and challenge our assumptions about existing problems.
See below for some examples of questions we're excited to see answered.
For the full list, check out the 80,000 hours list of research questions with a high social impact.
How does Chinese nuclear no first-use policy affect global stability and potential strategic doctrines for emerging technologies?
What case studies are there for legal rights or other protections being won for beings that didn’t and wouldn’t ever have the right to vote, and what lessons do these have for animal welfare?
What’s the best way to measure individual wellbeing? What’s the best way to measure aggregate wellbeing for groups?
What environmental problems — if any — pose existential risks?
What broad-spectrum drugs, especially antivirals, are most promising for tackling novel pathogens?
How can we design ML systems that are more transparent and whose models are more easily interpretable by humans?
Tips for writing a
For guidance and suggestions on impact-oriented research, we like this article by Karolina Sarek. Aimed at professional researchers, it highlights the importance of reaching an accurate, action-relevant and formulated conclusion. Her three main guidelines are to:
Reach conclusions through your research
Compare alternatives with equal rigour.
Design research questions to affect decision-making.
Specifically, this might look like:
Quantifying how big a problem or solution is
Comparing your idea to what already exists: what’s the benefit of your idea over others?
Considering how your suggestion could be put into practice
Highlighting the flaws in existing ideas or methods
Looking at the limitations of your suggestion
Flourish is a multidisciplinary journal; within each focus area some of these suggestions will be appropriate, and some will definitely not. Alter these bullet points as you set fit. Discard others. We trust your discretion.