Writing is taken seriously at BDRA, as one would expect in a research unit. We understand the key role of writing and publishing in our work and take concrete steps towards improving the quality and quantity of what we write and towards writing more for our specific audiences.
We have formal and informal processes in place to enhance our writing output. The Friday morning Writing Group, coordinated by my colleague Palitha, is a very good example of a regular, formal arrangement in which colleagues discuss and critique their writing ‘homework’ in an informal, mutually supportive setting (which includes chocolate, biscuits and sometimes cake). We also organise more formal sessions, such as the one led by Martin Oliver last week, aimed at writing for academic journals. But just as important are the many informal chats between colleagues (both face to face and electronic) that keep the feedback loop alive, the writing flame glowing and the motivation high. Sometimes those formal and informal encounters benefit from the participation and expertise of more experienced writers, such as David Hawkridge and Gilly Salmon, who not only share their skills but enable others to acquire them.
The team’s understanding of the importance of good writing, the writing enhancement processes described above and the evidence base generated through BDRA’s research projects have resulted in valuable published output, in the form of journal articles, conference papers and book chapters. We have, however, much more to share with the academic community than our publications to date suggest. Plus, new projects are starting all the time, so more evidence will be produced – and subsequently more will be shared through writing.
3 May 2009