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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

In this chapter we will consider how you might use a variety of media to communicate your research to both the public and your peers. The chapter is intended for those new to using media (traditional or social) for research communication and does not seek to provide a comprehensive overview of the potential ways media might be used, but rather offers examples as a jumping-off point for your own endeavours. The chapter briefly covers writing for traditional media, before moving on to consider your digital profile and the practicalities of using

in Creative research communication
Theory and practice

Considering how to communicate your research or engage others with the latest science, social science or humanities research? This book explores new and emerging approaches to engaging people with research, placing these in the wider context of research communication. Split into three sections, Creative Research Communication explores the historical routes and current drivers for public engagement, before moving on to explore practical approaches and finally discussing ethical issues and the ways in which research communication can contribute to research impact.

Starting from the premise that researchers can and ought to participate in the public sphere, this book provides practical guidance and advice on contributing to political discourse and policymaking, as well as engaging the public where they are (whether that is at the theatre, at a music festival or on social media). By considering the plurality of publics and their diverse needs and interests, it is quite possible to find a communications niche that neither offers up bite-sized chunks of research, nor conceptualises the public as lacking the capacity to consider the myriad of issues raised by research, but explains and considers thoughtfully the value of research endeavours and their potential benefits to society.

It’s time for researchers to move away from one-size fits all, and embrace opportunities for creative approaches to research communication. This book argues for a move away from metrics and tick box approaches and towards approaches that work for you, as an individual researcher, in the context of your own discipline and interests.

Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

points to a critique of this position which is developed by Marcuse, and suggests a sort of paradox that whilst technologies could bring about a revolution, they also represent a mechanism through which revolutionary thought may be suppressed, for example via the technologies enabling the mass media. This argument allows the student ultimately to conclude that for technologies to have a revolutionary effect there will have to be simultaneous changes to social organisation so that working-class people can unite. In this way he shows that the two elements of technology

in The craft of writing in sociology
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

reflects the modern use of the term. An audience would originally have comprised small groups of local spectators capable of responding to and interacting with a public display, presentation or performance; it was only the advent of the modern mass media which saw a depiction of a far larger audience, dispersed consumers, often in their private home environment, which cultivated the depiction of audiences as having a relatively passive role (McQuail, 1997 ). Though the communication environment has been changing, with increased opportunities for audiences to be

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

repurposed materials. Web 2.0 technologies have made it possible for anyone to become a content producer, or what Bruns ( 2006 ) calls a ‘produser’, eliminating the need for a middleman or gatekeeper who traditionally mediates access to older, more expensive media and technologies (e.g. journalists or web designers). This has the advantage that researchers can now reach many potential publics directly by engaging in digital communication opportunities. It has the disadvantage that the digital space is becoming very crowded, and being heard amid the cacophony of

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

). Below we consider some key dissemination routes. We have included reports, conferences and journal publications, although it is important to remember that many of the techniques for research communication – such as social and digital media – which we have discussed throughout this book can also be used for dissemination activity, if appropriate to the audience you are seeking to reach. Reports Reports are a fairly standard way to write up the results of research communication efforts, but how you share them is crucial to the potential influence they

in Creative research communication
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

person ( Chapter 4 ) or through the media ( Chapter 7 ), there are opportunities for researchers to take on the role of public intellectuals, contributing to society in many different ways beyond the direct benefits that their research may have. By considering the plurality of publics and their diverse needs and interests, it is quite possible to find a communications niche that neither offers up bite-sized chunks of research nor conceptualises the public as lacking the capacity to consider the myriad of issues raised by research, but instead explains and considers

in Creative research communication
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Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

with a more nuanced and less one-sided conclusion. Questions in sociology commonly expect you to engage in a critical reading of the literature, to weigh up one position against another and to look for evidence to support these positions. This can often lead to a quite complicated outcome, where some parts of the essay support one position, theory or interpretation, whereas other parts support another. For example, in the conclusion quoted below the student has sought to answer the question ‘Does social media empower the individual?’, but has found that his critical

in The craft of writing in sociology
Helen Brooks and Penny Bee

be disseminated in different ways. For example, an overview of the findings may be posted on study websites or social media pages. Participants can then be signposted to such locations by including a link within the questionnaire, along with the date when the lay summary will be made available. Hard copy lay summaries may be distributed through the organisations that have been involved in recruitment for the study, including for example healthcare trusts and/or local and national voluntary and community organisations. Increasingly, researchers are also considering

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
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Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

her colleagues were able to identify the styles of interventions in schools that could work most effectively in promoting a positive body image with adolescents, and recommend scientifically proven programmes and strategies to Dove to implement on a global scale. Phillippa has found the collaboration with the corporate sector to be very stimulating, as she explained: ‘The Dove Self-Esteem Project is always looking to innovate and improve its body image education programmes to be in line with the fast-changing media and visual landscapes that young people live in and

in Creative research communication