Research for Social Good is a MethodSpace focus for October. We will dig into this broad topic with guest posts, interviews, and links to articles or instructional resources.
Researching and writing are complementary activities. It is hard to be engaged with research without writing– whether we are scribbling reflections in a research journal, or generating a book, chapter, article, or post. This month on MethodSpace we are focusing on Research for Social Good, so it follows that we should think about implications for academic writing. Let’s start by looking at our purpose, why we might use writing to accomplish socially-relevant goals. We’ll focus on how questions during Academic Writing Month in November!
How can academic writing advance social good?
Academic writing for social good supports efforts for change to improve the well-being of people in our communities or around the world. As scholars and researchers, we can use evidence generated by empirical research in four interrelated ways:
- Informing stakeholders and/or the general public about relevant findings. We get the word out through academic, professional, news media, social media, or other channels. We craft messages and share stories that are appropriate to the audience, be they scientists, policy-makers, or parents.
- Organizing interested parties who want to work together for change. Sometimes activities associated with informing the world about what we’ve learned can lead to making connections with others of like mind. We use our writing to provide evidence and make claims that can provide the basis for collaborative efforts.
- Advocating positions and recommendations that emerge from research evidence. Sometimes informing and organizing are not enough, and we need to take a stand. We need to speak up for what we believe is needed in order to understand and address the problems we studied.
- Proposing new solutions, policies, or practices. Rather than simply articulate implications of the study and questions for future research, we use findings as the basis for specific strategies to address the problem.
Lynn Wilson and I discussed ways to think about and utilize these options in a webinar for the members of the Textbook and Academic Authors Association last year. TAA has generously made the recording available here for MethodSpace readers.
Your thoughts or experiences? Use the comment area to contribute ideas or links to examples.