It’s finally that time when we’re almost at the end of our project and just about have time to reflect on the number of activities and initiatives we had underway. Have we improved knowledge exchange between researchers and practitioners in social care (as well as others)? Do we now know the best methods to use? We’ve tried so many activities I may have lost count and its only really in pulling together final reports that the range of activities becomes obvious, and more so the need to reflect on them and share our reflections. We’ll be doing most of this at our final conference on 26 November 2014 but will share some thoughts over the next few weeks here as well.
One of the very early things we tried was an unconference. We brought together about 50 people (mostly professionals but some researchers) for a half-day workshop without any agenda or programme. First thought – panic! But it was amazing. Everyone was very engaged; people had come to share their research and practice priorities, others to find out what an unconference was. We discussed why people had come along, and then participants set the agenda themselves for the remainder of the workshop and very actively engaged with group work. The discussion was summarised in a short report and captured (brilliantly!) in a visual note.
Was it a good knowledge exchange method? Definitely. Not having a set agenda allowed those participating to discuss their aims for the afternoon and decide what they wanted to focus on, while at the same time drawing out key points for research and practice priorities (as we’d hoped!). Its definitely nerve-racking for the organisers – the possibility that participants may feel they’ve wasted an afternoon or aren’t getting what they’d expected, and the possibility that nobody would agree to a plan for the workshop and it would fall flat… We were clear that this was a trial, a new approach for us and we wouldn’t be guaranteeing any outcomes – which was very important to manage expectations.
But all in all it was both fun and informative. Here’s what others thought….
by André Tomlin and Martin Webber
How do you keep up to date with the latest reliable social care research?
Ask a hundred people who work in social care and you’ll probably get a hundred different answers! There’s no simple and easy way to keep abreast of the latest evidence because it’s so scattered in terms of where it’s published, often in obscure locations, frequently behind pay-walls.
But of course, it’s not just about getting your hands on the evidence, it’s also about actually being able to read and understand the research when you have the time and inclination. Social care research can be jargon-filled and impenetrable stuff that you need a degree in research methods just to decipher! And there just isn’t enough time to spend reading lengthy research reports.
Writing journal papers is never easy (well to the majority of us!). Papers are perhaps more likely to get written in academic settings with pressure from line managers, career requirements and things like the Research Excellence Framework, but even then the need to move on to the next research study or manage multiple studies makes it difficult to focus on writing.
I imagine there are many other priorities within non-academic settings, research doesn’t necessarily lead to a journal article or publication of the research findings, and the support isn’t always then available to develop a journal paper. Perhaps a journal paper isn’t seen as essential, but it is useful in sharing messages from research to a wider audience and for individual development. It’s also useful in sharing high-quality research carried out as part of Masters or PhD studies.
Research, Policy and Planning Journal
So we’re asking you to tell us about your research and an article from it you would like to publish. We’re offering you the opportunity to receive support to develop your paper and publish it as part of a special open-access issue of @SSRGUK’s journal Research Policy and Planning in early 2015 (subject to independent peer-review of course!).
Complete our application form and send it back to us as soon as you can (by 5pm on Monday 23 June 2014 at the latest) and we’ll go from there!
Are you a PhD student or an early career researcher?
Are you interested in ensuring your research gets used?
Are you available on Thursday 10 – Saturday 12 July 2014?
If you can answer yes to these three questions then you could be eligible for an (almost) fully funded place at the LSE SCEIP and NIHR SSCR summer residential on knowledge transfer taking place in Birmingham. Run for the first time this summer, the residential seeks to address some of the opportunities (and challenges) of knowledge transfer and develop an understanding of the importance of considering impact early.
Designed to focus on those at the start of their academic careers, the residential will make use of workshops, interactive exercises and facilitated peer learning throughout.
Looking forward to Monday’s ideas swop shop… and then unfortunately had to postpone as one of our core team is off sick!
We’ll be holding the swop shop on 13 May 2014 now. Partly as we are hosting a workshop on user-led research in the afternoon and the ideas swop shop will compliment that workshop very well.
Register now at http://sceipideasswopshop.eventbrite.co.uk.
In recent years there has been a growing evidence base surrounding the effectiveness, efficiency and merits of telecare. Incorporated within a large Department of Health evaluation that commenced in 2008 (the Whole Systems Demonstrator programme) the evidence for telecare is mixed. This post sets the scene around evidence for telecare and introduces an event taking place on 20 February 2014 to which you are all very welcome.
What is telecare?
The Department of Health defines telecare as ‘a combination of alarms, sensors and other equipment to help people live independently. This is done by monitoring activity changes over time and will raise a call for help in emergency situations, such as a fall, fire or a flood’ (Department of Health 2009).
Telecare is a combination of monitoring equipment and monitoring services to enable people to remain independent, usually used in the home. Equipment can be activated by the user (e.g. pendant alarm) or can monitor behaviour passively (e.g. epilepsy bed sensor or a flood detector) triggering an alert when changes are detected.
A dedicated pot of funding and two years to bring practitioners (broadly defined) and researchers together to exchange knowledge and to explore knowledge exchange methods seemed like an immense opportunity when we started in August 2012. The freedom to decide with them what we were going to do in the project, rather than telling them what we would do, and the possibility of increasing engagement between research and practice by the end of the project was amazing. It still is… but as we’ve been through the first 18 months of the Social Care Evidence in Practice (SCEiP) project we’re learning a lot and realising that perhaps even the funding, time and freedom we have through the SCEiP project may not be enough to do more than scratch the surface.
Hi! I’m the project manager for the SCEiP project, and have spent some time reflecting on the first year of the project before fully getting into year 2 activities. There’s a lot to reflect on and lots of recommendations and suggestions coming together… I won’t go into all of those in this post, but will do in follow-up posts. Here I just wanted to briefly reflect on where we have reached.
by Dr Philip Brown
When the main output from a research project is essentially a report and a few lofty journal articles what does this mean for impact? Well, as researchers, we hope it means quite a lot. We hope that key policy makers and practitioners will read our work, understand what we found and act on our recommendations and conclusions to change or improve things. This is certainly something which happens, but possibly more rarely than we care to admit to ourselves. A cynic might say that churning out final research reports merely conforms to the well rehearsed process endemic within the research profession of telling people (anyone who will listen) how clever, unique, interesting our research has been. In reality, for the most part, we often speak to the ‘usual suspects’ add to a growing body of similar research reports and ‘impact’ is incremental as opposed to dramatic (sighs).
But it doesn’t have to be this way.