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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.

Patrick Callaghan and Penny Bee

services or the proportion of people who are satisfied with their care. Perhaps most importantly, we can use numbers to look at differences between groups of people or the same group over time. This can help us understand the effect of new treatment or policy initiatives, both in terms of the type of effect (e.g. does a new policy make things better, worse or leave things unchanged?) and the size of its impact (e.g. are any changes big enough to be meaningful or could they have happened just by chance?). For some people, numbers and statistics are reassuring, but for

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

Scholarly and practical considerations come together from the beginning when selecting what to read. Obviously, in order to read something, you have to get hold of it. That may take some time, for instance: an hour locating three online journal articles; an additional hour following up likely looking references you found listed in those articles; a couple of days before you can get back to follow up additional references you have on the list your tutor gave you; several weeks to get hold of a book in high demand at the library. So it is important to

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

involved, and is likely to come over well in your written work. By the same token, however, choosing a topic you do not care about but which you think is easy to answer will also show in your writing, this time to your disadvantage. Whilst the person marking your assignment will not focus on your enthusiasm, it is generally the case that your lack of enthusiasm about a topic will affect the argument that you produce since you are more likely to read widely, think critically, mull over your essay and spend time redrafting your work if you are enthused by the materials

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

the text is written; proof-reading is about the way the text looks. 1 Editing is the very last stage of essay writing , whereas proof-reading is the very last stage of the process of production as a whole, the final set of tasks to be done before submitting your essay. Allowing enough time for both stages is essential to the quality of the work – especially its clarity – along with achieving a good mark and, it is worth remembering, personal satisfaction. And when scheduling the work right at the beginning, building in time for editing and proof-reading is most

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

valuable towards it at the same time as taking a little time off from the actual writing. Now and then being tired, uncomfortable or simply stiff from sitting for a long time can contribute to feeling unable to write and certainly add to not wanting to. Rather than taking a rest on a sofa with a cup of coffee, or talking to a friend – pleasant as those may be – it is often more productive to avoid switching out of work mode completely and instead get some exercise, but still reflect on the substance of the work rather than trying to write about it. This does not

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

sharing work to which others have contributed their time or ideas. However, there are multiple reasons why research communicators do not always share their work very effectively. Firstly, communication between academics who have an interest in research communication and practitioner communities is challenging. Practitioners, such as those based in museums, galleries or science centres, as well as those who would identify themselves as professional communicators, journalists or mediators are often pressed for time, quickly progressing from one activity to the

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

scientists who have inspired you? They might be a handful of people, or a hundred, but how often has their communication approach been influential in your view of them? Despite the variety of ways that people view researchers who are renowned for communicating their work, it is impossible to ignore that many of the most well-known academics of our time are also widely known to us because they communicate. Be it Stephen Hawking, Noam Chomsky, Mary Beard or Steven Pinker, their communication, as well as their ideas, whether controversial or undisputed, has formed an

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

profile, or newspaper description of you, 1 can provide a similar essence, and there is growing evidence that computer-mediated communications can simulate the face-to-face experience (Kappas and Krämer, 2011 ) but such approaches may not allow you the same sense of opportunity to connect with your participants as fellow individuals. In some cases, face-to-face settings can provide more time for informal interaction, be it sharing a coffee during a break in activities or engaging in an informal conversation about the morning’s weather, all of which may help a

in Creative research communication
Owen Price and Karina Lovell

anything within the population in order to assess its effect, he’s simply described the frequency of depression in that population and some of the characteristics of people with and without depression at a particular point in time. 41 BEE (RESEARCH) PRINT.indd 41 11/05/2018 16:14 There are different types of descriptive quantitative research designs. These produce different types of findings, and which type to use depends on the question being asked. Consider again case example A. This type of study is called a cross-sectional study, which means it involves

in A research handbook for patient and public involvement researchers