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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.

Abstract only
Andrew Balmer and Anne Murcott

areas she already covered in the middle of the essay. In conclusion, this essay has looked at how animals are understood in reference to the paradigms of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism. For anthropocentrism animals are perceived as distinct and separate relative to human beings. For the anthropomorphists, animals are attributed with human characteristics such as moods and feelings as seen in pet-owner relationships. Thus this discourse rather than subjugating nature on a hierarchical basis aims to give agency to nonhuman animals. However this

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

general approach, the design of your study and the methods that you will use. Consider the example from a student’s first attempt to frame her dissertation question and a couple of her sub-questions: Main question: How do contemporary integration discourses construct Muslims, Britishness and their relations? Sub-question 1: How do labels and narratives of radicalisation and community cohesion construct ideas of what it means to be British? Sub-question 2: In what ways are Muslims constructed in relation to the War on Terror

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

Panopticon and explores a number of Foucault’s concepts, including power, knowledge, discourse and normalisation. It also tries to situate all of this in relation to the question by linking some of these topics and concepts to theories of modernity and the Enlightenment. Overall the essay is reasonably successful but tries to do too much. The paragraph quoted below introduces Foucault’s thinking on the relationship between his concepts of knowledge and power, and exemplifies this by referring to the Panopticon. It forms part of the student’s overall argument that

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

being used to make too many points at once. Here is a good example of both of these problems in one sentence: In relation to the paradigms of anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism, the dominating discourse of anthropocentrism reflects the notion that humans are separate and to some extent superior over the natural world and nonhuman animals and thus places humans as subjects. The student is trying to make three related points: (1) that anthropocentrism, the tendency to see humans as being fundamentally distinct from non-human animals

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

developed out of a counter-culture movement that seeks to enable participation in public discourses, and for many this means that readers should also be allowed to join the discussion, voicing their opinions. Reader comments can be thoughtful and contribute insights that ultimately improve research. On the other hand, trolls abound and bloggers can expect irrelevant and even hateful comments to be posted, making it important to have a thick skin, particularly for female bloggers who choose not to hide their gender (Thorpe and Rogers, 2011 ). For this reason, some

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

Institution’s somewhat formal ‘Friday Evening Discourses’ was seen as a prestigious accolade (Knight, 2006 ) from the nineteenth century onwards, and those growing in professional reputation began to question how such public but increasingly professional groupings might come to influence professional identity. Spending one’s time drawing amusement was seen to require an intellectual purpose (Riskin, 2008 ), and a widening middle class was keen to pursue these new opportunities to develop knowledge (Stafford, 1994 ), embodying not only a redistribution of access to

in Creative research communication
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

from its instrumental perspective alone; ‘bite-sized, easily standardized effort that can be easily measured, weighed and served to an infantilized public’. This book explores ways that academics can begin to take on Furedi’s challenge, stepping up to the role of public intellectuals, by participating in the public sphere through discussion of their research. Whether it is through contributing to political discourse or more practically to policymaking through provision of evidence ( Chapter 8 ), participating in public debates and discussions either in

in Creative research communication
Abstract only
Clare Wilkinson and Emma Weitkamp

the original format, potentially giving the perception that cafes are run by and for scientific institutions, rather than by and for the audience’. Many face-to-face activities, that started in ‘bottom up’ ways, or through small incremental projects and voluntary opportunities, are coming under focus in a policy setting which, as Maile ( 2014 : 29) summarises, ‘is now subject to competing discourses and policies focused on evidence-gathering and impact assessment’. Whilst impact will be considered in more detail in later chapters, for many the intentions of face

in Creative research communication