Celebrating the Blog’s First Birthday!

By Hannah Preston

About the author

Hannah Preston is a Research Support Officer in the Business School and Editor of the Research and Innovation blog.

We are celebrating the Research and Innovation blog turning one today!

Over the last 12 months, there have been just short of 100 posts on the blog, with an average of seven posts per month, from over 65 contributors.

In the early planning stages of the blog, we created an editorial mission statement confirming what the purpose of the Research and Innovation blog would be. We wanted to create a platform where we could showcase the variety of research that is taking place within the Business School, from postgraduate researchers, through to professors.

We wanted to have a space where we could communicate our research with the general public, making it more accessible to a wider audience beyond academia.

We also wanted to use the blog to share our knowledge and inform others of the impact our research is having within the UK and internationally, whether that be on businesses, government, policy makers or community groups.

It was also our intention to use the blog to: demonstrate the breadth and relevance of our research; provide an online platform for the research community; and offer an insight into what really goes on within research institutions – not just the research that takes place through large grants, but the journey from undertaking a PhD to becoming an established researcher.

I wrote during our initial planning that posts would be written by researchers and staff within the School as well as guest contributors. Third-party contributors would be from organisations that have a natural fit with the Business School and can add relevant and useful information for our readers.

As well as highlighting various research projects, I wanted the blog to also feature opinion articles, comment pieces on topical issues, and advice relevant to the research community.

One year on and I’m delighted that we have met all these targets, regularly posting interesting and informative blog articles that are in keeping with our mission statement.

To start with, we have definitely showcased a “variety of research” – from the textile industry to corruption in transition economies; 3D printing to ageing and decision making; and David Bowie to haggis. There has been a real mix of topics covered on the blog!

As outlined in our editorial mission statement, we have also featured blog posts from researchers at various stages of their career, from Postgraduate Researchers and Early Career Researchers, right through to professors and those in senior leadership positions.

The blog has also had contributions from writers outside of the Business School. For example, we’ve had one of the University of Leeds’ Learning Technologists give advice on how to raise your profile on Twitter, and Rashik Parmar, leader of the European and Asia Pacific Cloud Advisor team at IBM, write a blog post on the value of data after speaking at one of the Business School’s Ideas in Practice events.

We have had a mixture of different types of posts as well, including: policy reports, research project overviews, comment pieces on topical issues and advice posts.

As well as being of interest to our readers, the blog has also been beneficial to its contributors. A number of the writers have had a positive outcome from featuring on the blog, including: gaining participants for a research study; increasing the number of attendees at an event; increasing the number of visits to the authors’ online profiles; and a request for new collaborations with academics from other research institutes.

Martyn Griffin, who wrote a post on his ESRC Future Leaders research project, said he uses his blog post as a place to direct practitioners to find out more about his project. He commented that it has helped practitioners get a clearer idea about what he is doing.

On a personal level, there are a number of different things I’ve gained from being the blog’s editor. It’s my job to source blog posts by liaising with colleagues and external contributors, repost articles by our academics that have appeared elsewhere (with permission!), edit posts, write some of the articles, and upload and publish them.

My background is in Public Relations so I’m really pleased that I’ve been able to bring my communication skills to this role. As a previous outsider to the world of academia, I’ve loved finding out about so many different research topics. Each post has been really interesting to me, despite not having any previous knowledge about the subject matters for a lot of them.

I’ve also learnt quite a bit about different subject areas and new terminology (I’m still waiting for the moment I can drop in “heuristics” when talking with my friends!), despite the articles only being brief.

One of my favourite things about being the blog editor however is the relationships I’ve developed with members of staff who I perhaps wouldn’t normally have had much communication with. I’ve been delighted at how many colleagues have been willing to write for the blog and how many have approached me asking if they can feature on it.

As communicating about research findings is increasingly important, it’s been great to see academics embrace various different blogs as one of the tools they can use in which to do this.

We will continue to regularly update our blog with scholarly posts of interest to the research community. Not one to rest on our laurels, I’m excited to announce that we will be enhancing the blog by adding video content as well as text blog posts. (Our first video blog will be going up this week!) We have also added more categories at the bottom of each blog post to make it even easier for readers to find related articles.

From all the Leeds University Business School research and innovation team, we hope you continue to enjoy our blog and find it both interesting and useful. We always welcome comments and feedback, so please do feel free to leave a comment below or e-mail us at research.LUBS@leeds.ac.uk

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