By Hannah Preston
About the author
Hannah Preston is a Research Support Officer at Leeds University Business School. She is the creator and editor of the Research and Innovation Blog.
We have reached a major milestone – this is the Business School’s 250th blog post on our Research and Innovation Blog!
Launched in October 2015, the purpose of the blog was to provide a platform to help disseminate the School’s research to a wider audience, both within and outside of academia. We wanted to make sure the blog was accessible, informative and engaging.
We have used it as a space to promote our researchers’ achievements, share informed opinions, offer useful advice, reflect on research experiences, recruit participants for research studies, and showcase our researchers’ excellence and knowledge.
We have had the tricky but exciting task of appealing to a mass audience: business practitioners, policy makers, journalists, other academics, alumni, current and prospective students and staff, and anyone who just happens to have an interest in one of the topics we’ve featured.
The blog has covered an extensive range of subjects, from perceptions of climate change, to international franchising; using data in elite sports, to Disney princesses and the depiction of working women; and the state of the British steel industry to diaspora communities in the Balkans.
Here are our top seven most read blog posts*.
Writing a research PhD proposal; Five benefits of visiting another university for research; How to write a grant proposal; How stress impacts decision making; How I finished my PhD early; Future city production, economic regeneration and democratisation; Logistics collaboration.
*Correct as of 29 April 2019
We’ve also had a brilliant mix of authors – right through from our postgraduate researchers to senior professors, and guest authors as well, including training providers we work with and speakers at some of the events the School has hosted.
There are many reasons why academics and those supporting research should blog. Here are just a few:
- It helps get your research to a wider audience
- Writing about your work helps focus your mind and ideas
- Writing in a different style and using a different tone of voice can help improve your writing skills
- It is a useful platform to share reports and project summaries
- Blogging can help raise your research profile and reputation
- It gives you an opportunity to offer opinions and give updates at various stages of your research, rather than waiting until you have your final results.
“Writing for the Leeds University Business School Research and Innovation Blog has helped me to communicate my research more widely and prompts me to write differently for non-academic audiences. It’s so useful to have an in-house platform and editorial support to help me share my findings. Congratulations on reaching the 250th blog post!”
Dr Jo Ingold, Associate Professor of HRM & Public Policy, Leeds University Business School
The benefits of hosting/writing for an institution’s blog
Creating a blog for the Business School has been a great way to showcase the work done by our individual researchers, but also demonstrate the strength and variety of the School’s research.
Having a School blog provides a number of benefits to our researchers who perhaps do not have the time or are worried they don’t have enough to say to manage their own blog. It also means they get to capitalise on the Business School’s network, rather than just their own when sharing blog posts.
Appearing in the media is a great way to get your research to a wider audience, but writing for a blog should also be a part of a researcher’s communication plan as there are a number of advantages to it. An institution’s own blog can have a lot more flexibility than traditional press. This flexibility means:
- The word count often isn’t as strict. Although we have a suggested word count (so that the posts are long enough to be engaging and informative, but not so long that readers lose interest) we are a lot more flexible than most academic journals and media.
- Your work doesn’t have to be as time sensitive. At the Business School, although we do feature topical pieces on the blog, we are able to showcase our researchers’ work at any time of the year. It also means that our researchers aren’t under pressure to write something immediately after an event or workshop they’ve hosted or attended has taken place, and can instead have time to reflect on the event and see if any outputs have developed.
- It gives you a chance to tell the full story. Whereas the media may cherry-pick only certain parts of your research or use just a short quotation from yourself, this is your opportunity to make sure all the pertinent facts are included and that the message doesn’t get lost or skewed.
The Research and Innovation Office here at Leeds University Business School offers a lot of support for academics interested in writing a blog post, whether they’re completely new to the concept or have plenty of experience writing for online platforms. We can: help come up with ideas and a structure for the article; proofread and edit it, making sure it’s easy to understand and is engaging; translate academic articles into jargon-free, shorter posts; source images; upload and publish the post; and share it through the Business School’s social media channels and other relevant platforms.
As well as being a useful tool to disseminate research, a number of our academics have benefitted from readers engaging with their blog posts. For example, some of our authors have had enquiries from: the media, other academics interested in collaborating with them, new study participants, and business practitioners interested in the research or conducting new research projects with them.
“The Leeds University Business School Research and Innovation Blog, for me, represents a fantastic portal by which we academics can extend our reach and engage with audiences - like the general public, policy makers, the third-sector, and the media - that otherwise typically don't have access to the academic journals we report in. It's a means of placing our research, expertise, and ideas within the wider societal picture to showcase the great minds we have at the Business School."
Dr Simon McNair, Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Leeds University Business School
We are really pleased with the reception to the blog and how it has grown and developed over the last few years, including the fact that we now also feature video blog posts.
The blog has been an excellent way to showcase our researchers’ work and engage with an audience beyond academia. We will continue to regularly update it with informative and interesting posts, giving an insight into the world of business research, and hope you continue to enjoy reading it.
If there’s anything you have read on our Research and Innovation Blog and would like to find out further information, or if you are interested in contributing to a future blog post, please do get in touch research.LUBS@leeds.ac.uk.