posted on December 05, 2016 15:20
Gillian Stokes and Sergio Graziosi - Blog Editors.
This is the launch post for the new EPPI-Centre blog: we provide a brief introduction of the topics we are planning to cover and the general aims of the blog.
Welcome to the EPPI-Centre blog
Those of you who have worked with the EPPI-Centre, or have read one of our many publications over the last 23 years of operation, will recognise the EPPI-Centre as an organisation that provides internationally impactful evidence on matters of health, social care, international development, education and policy. For those of you who are unfamiliar with who we are, the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre, or EPPI-Centre, is part of the Social Science Research Unit at the Department of Social Science, UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
We are committed to informing policy and professional practice with rigorous evidence. Our two main areas of work are systematic reviews and research use. Our systematic review work comprises a variety of research endeavours that include: developing research methods for systematic reviews and research syntheses, conducting reviews, supporting others to undertake reviews, and providing guidance and training in this area. With regard to research use, we study the use/non-use of research evidence in personal, practice and political decision-making, support those who wish to find and use research to help solve problems in a wide variety of disciplines; and to do this we further provide guidance and training.
Why are we opening a new blog?
One of our defining interests revolves around public engagement, and we are keen to open new channels of communication, especially if they cut across the boundaries of the academic “ivory tower”. We have been conducting open seminars since the beginning of 2015, which have been excellently received. Speakers include researchers from the EPPI-Centre, as well as researchers from a wide range of world-class institutions. (Click here for forthcoming events, or see an overview of our past seminars and associated resources). Furthermore, since April 2011, we have provided headlines about our work via our Twitter feed. Twitter has proven useful to engage a large audience, however, we felt it time to provide a platform to discuss our research in more detail. The blog is intended as a platform to allow us expand our research findings and methodological ideas, and to open a dialogue between researchers and readers, in order to engage readers with our research and explore it further. It will also provide a channel to test and refine our current thinking in a less formal, more inclusive medium than the traditional outlets of conferences and peer reviewed publications.
The EPPI-Centre benefits from having research staff from a variety of backgrounds: medicine, education, statistics, media, and economics to name but a few. This multidisciplinary expertise has benefitted our research work greatly, for example by providing insight and understanding of working practices and policy. Here on the EPPI-Centre blog our researchers will be able to share our work and expand their thoughts and ideas with interested readers. We want to provide you with thought-provoking and informative posts that will encourage debate, not just disseminate reports and journal articles. Most of all, we want to blog in order to challenge our approach to our work and explore the issues that we may encounter within our research. Thus, the blog offers us a way to explore new lines of thinking and engage with our audiences in new and productive ways.
What can you look forward to reading about on the EPPI-Centre blog?
- News and reviews – we will keep you informed of new review work, articles and books that we have published, as soon as they have been released.
- Exploratory essays - thoughts about ideas and lines of research that we find worth pursuing, thinking about and discussing with interested parties.
- Training and workshop session updates – we will let you know about training days or workshops that we are running and write about key points emerging from the sessions for those unable to attend.
- Conference news – we will let you know about upcoming conferences that we are running or speaking at, by providing you with key dates for your diaries and links to enable you to register.
- Projects and trials of interest - we will also post links to works by our own researchers and others to inform you of trials, projects, or other developments that you might find useful that relate to our work.
We think that you will find the blog a great way to interact with us here at the EPPI-Centre and hope that you join us regularly for updates of our published work as well as information about our plans for the remainder of 2016 and beyond.
Please also follow us on Twitter – we look forward to hearing from you in the coming months and engaging in online discussions!
Gillian Stokes is a Research Officer at the EPPI-Centre, UCL Institute of Education, University College London. Her main research interests include developing research methods and public and patient involvement in research, particularly children’s involvement in translational medicine. She has been working on systematic reviews focused on health and medicine since May 2013.
Sergio Graziosi is the Information Systems Manager at the EPPI-Centre, UCL Institute of Education, University College London. His main research interests revolve around the use of technology in systematic reviews as well as more generally the challenges and limitations of research synthesis.