When I first started working as an academic, I did a year in a traditional highly-ranked university. It was there that I first met an ambiguous attitude to evaluations that I have found to be pervasive across academia. Evaluation work is valued by institutions for the money attached to it but dismissed as not ‘proper’ research. In this blog post I challenge this value system and explain why I think academics working in sociology should do more evaluation work.
Posts Tagged ‘impact’
As part of our Knowledge Transfer work, Akile Ahmet is speaking to people who work with young people to see how they react to our findings. This post describes what Claire Nix an independent Careers Education Consultant had to say. Claire works primarily in careers and employability, does training for careers advisors and is a member of Career England and a fellow of National Institute for Careers Education and Counselling. Claire initially found out about the project from a steering group member and attended our End of Award Event last July.
Peter Fraser has been has been involved in media education for 25 years, first as media studies teacher and for the past five years freelance . He has been chief examiner for OCR Media studies A-level for 14 years and is currently working with The National Television Film school, as part of the British Film Institute‘s film academy, alongside chairing the Media Education Association that support teachers of the subject, and blogging regularly. Pete has been involved with the CelebYouth research since the beginning as a member of the Advisory Group. I this post Knowledge Transfer Fellow Akile Ahmet discusses young people, celebrity and our research with him.
As part of our Knowledge Transfer programme Akile Ahmet is interviewing key people in the field of youth work, careers education, and schooling to help us make our findings relevant to their work. The first of her interviews was with Tania de St Croix. Tania is a youth worker and a postdoctoral research fellow at King’s College London. Her PhD explored grassroots youth work and this is affected by policy changes and how youth workers respond and resist some of the policy changes that have been happening. Tania is also a member and spokesperson for ‘In Defence of Youth Work’. In this post Akile describes what happened when she went along on Friday 19 June to talk with Tania and discuss some of the project findings.
Akile Ahmet hs recently joined Celebyouth as a knowledge transfer fellow, her role is ultimately transferring the knowledge created from the research to the widest audience possible, something we’ve already begun through our mythbusting website. In this post she talks more about her job.
Back in July we launched a new website examining celebrity’s significance in the construction of young people’s aspirations, trying to make the our findings as widely accessible as possible. This mythbusting site is aimed at those who work with young people – including teachers, careers educators and youth workers. The site presents evidence from our two-year study to debunk a series of powerful and stigmatising myths about young people, including ‘young people want to get rich quick’, ‘young people have low aspirations’, ‘young people don’t value hard work’ and ‘young people are obsessed with celebrity culture’.
Now we are about two weeks from the official end of the project, we (Heather, Kim, Laura and Aisha) thought it might be a good moment to say thank you to all the people who’ve supported us. While acknowledgements are a standard part of a book or dissertation, people don’t normally get the chance to do the same for a research study. Having this website, gives us this lovely opportunity…
As the project draws to a close, we’re developing ways of communicating the research findings. We’re currently working with a web designer and artist and now we’re looking for a youth theatre group to help us bring some of the data to life. We have some brilliant group interviews with young people talking critically about celebrity and think it would be great if more people could hear these. We can’t use the original recordings because they’re confidential so we’re hoping to use actors instead.
Specifically, we’d like to find a group of young people to act out various roles of participants, working from scripts of short extracts from the group interview data that we’ll prepare in advance. We’ll film these young actors in 12 scenes of between 1 and 2 minutes. These will then be edited and used within an interactive website. We’d like to do this before mid July. We will provide the cameras and operators, and have a small budget to assist with other costs. If you lead, know or are part of a youth theatre group and are interested in helping us with this part of the project please get in touch with Heather at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our intention for this project is that it has genuine relevence beyond our academic communities; that the findings can be useful to those people working with young people or on issues that affect their lives – from education policymakers to youth and education practitioners. As a team, we’ve written critically about how we are positioned in relation to the ‘impact agenda’ and the challenges we’ve encountered in communicating our research to the media and policy communities. However, we have enjoyed and benefited from productive and generative conversations with practitioners who have engaged with the research – from teachers who have supported us on Twitter and came to hear our talk at the Media Education Association, to careers educators who attended our workshop at the CDI conference, and the many practitioners from across teaching, careers and youth work who came along to our interim workshop in October. One participant at the workshop was Tania de St Croix – a researcher, campaigner and youth worker. In this guest blog post, Tania shares her thoughts on our emerging findings and the challenges in making these meaningful and useful to those working with youth in times that are challenging for both young people and the sector itself.
The demand from our universities, our funders and our government that our research impact on society by changing policy and practice, has brought researchers into ever-greater contact with an increasing-variety of ‘non-academic users’. This raises tensions. In another post, Heather discussed how our research got lost in translation between us, as researchers, and a journalist. In this post, she looks at how we’ve found that we have a different conception of evidence than that which predominates among policymakers.