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Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

The potential audiences for research communication are many and varied, including those with personal and professional interests. We consider the variety of people your research communication might be aimed at in this chapter and introduce concepts including audience segmentation, behaviour change and ‘nudging’ and how they are being used. We will consider these from a critical perspective, how they can be a tool to engage some, but potentially discriminate against others, and how they can be of use practically to readers. Finally, the chapter discusses how certain people can be overlooked in research communication processes and considerations you might make around this as a research communicator.

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

Many of the approaches to engagement through which researchers seek to consider their work have emerged from democratic framings of participation and such settings are explored within this chapter, as context for researchers keen to use such approaches, along with the citizens’ role in such negotiations. The chapter considers why deliberative approaches might appeal to the research communicator, before discussing in depth public engagement and what this can involve in research communication contexts. The chapter also considers the role of communication and engagement within policymaking processes, and the part which researchers may or may not wish to play in it.

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

Social media provide a host of opportunities for research communicators. From pithy microblogs, such as Twitter, to more in depth personal blogs, and for those seeking more interaction, opportunities to interact with followers on Facebook. The chapter briefly considers traditional media, pointing those interested to useful resources before moving on to explore what a digital profile is. In this context, we explore the challenge of choosing tools wisely in an environment where your personal and professional lives can easily merge. The chapter then considers blogs, Facebook and similar sites, and the virtual world Second Life through the lens of media richness and social presence theories.

in Creative research communication
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This chapter serves as a swift reminder of very basic grammar (with useful suggestions for additional reading for students requiring further detail) offering quick and simple reference. After reminding students of the various good reasons for thinking carefully about grammar, as well as spelling and vocabulary, the fundamental topics covered are divided into two parts. The first includes sentences, types and their correct construction; word classes (parts of speech); clauses and phrases; the active and passive voice. The second deals with the fundamentals of punctuation: full stops and commas; colons and semi-colons; the apostrophe. The whole chapter is illustrated with ample examples and explanations.

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This chapter highlights a range of tools which students can use to build the first few paragraphs of their essays. It guides students through the work of framing a question and responding to the question to help them produce strong opening paragraphs that have a lasting impact on the reader. The chapter uses real student examples to show how to write a guide to an argument and inform the reader what the conclusions will be. Overall, it takes students step-by-step through the key techniques used in the beginnings of sociological essays, paying particular attention to setting-up the essay’s principal argument.

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This part provides solutions to common problems of essay writing that are easy to put into practice. Tips for deciding which essay question to choose include reminding students to think about displaying their own skills and understanding to best advantage. Dealing with difficulties in deciding what to read includes advice on thinking about the overall timetable as well as reasons for distinguishing between genres (e.g. journalism, textbooks, academic journal articles). The problem of writers’ block is cut down to size with simple, tried and tested tricks for side-stepping it. Advice on whether or not to use rhetorical questions (on the whole, not) and practical suggestions for writing to the required length (including cutting an essay to the required length) end the 5 succinct chapters in this part.

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

Offering a quick reminder, the chapter provides a succinct summary of the most frequently encountered mistakes of spelling and vocabulary, picking out those that often pose problems for sociology students Although students are advised to try and memorise the correct spelling of words they personally get wrong, a convenient list of common errors of both spelling and vocabulary is provided for quick and easy reference - including e.g. affect/effect, disinterested/uninterested, principle/principal.

in The craft of writing in sociology

This book guides students in how to construct coherent and powerful essays and dissertations by demystifying the process of creating an argument and helping students to develop their critical skills. It covers everything from the beginning stages of reading critically and keeping notes, through to the final stages of redrafting and proof-reading. It provides step-by-step instructions in how to identify, define, connect and contrast sociological concepts and propositions in order to produce powerful and well-evidenced arguments. Students are shown how to apply these lessons in essay writing, and to a longer piece of writing, such as a dissertation, as well as how to solve common problems experienced in writing, including getting rid of waffle, overcoming writer’s block and cutting an essay down to its required length. For students wishing to improve their basic writing skills or to refresh their memories, the book also gives a clear and concise overview of the most important grammatical rules in English and how to use them to good effect in writing clear sentences and sensible paragraphs.

Examples from essays written by sociology students at leading universities are used throughout the book. These examples are used to show what students have done well, what could be done better and how to improve their work using techniques of argument construction. It will be of use to students studying sociology and related disciplines, such as politics, anthropology and human geography, as well as for students taking a course which draws upon sociological writing, such as nursing, social psychology or health studies.

Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This chapter examines three examples of student work in detail. It reviews each one to show what the students have done well and what they have not done so well, by showing how they have used the techniques detailed in the book and where they could improve their writing by use of these techniques. Each case study is then revised in light of the critical comments on the examples to show students how to implement such changes in their own work.

in The craft of writing in sociology
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

This chapter deals with the last stages of writing an essay or dissertation to produce the final draft. Editing pays attention to the content, includes the last revisions and ensuring that the text is understandable by readers (e.g. reviewing the signposting). In contrast, proof-reading is a practical task checking spelling (e.g. watching out for homophones), grammar, layout etc. Illustrating the way that editing and proof reading are different from all the preceding stages of constructing an essay, the discussion demonstrates how to carry them out

in The craft of writing in sociology