canadienne des professeurs de rédaction technique et scientifique (ACPRTS)
La diffusion et la vulgarisation du savoir en sciences humaines et sociales: perceptions, pratiques et perspectives
of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, UC 142
Résumés des présentations
et partage du savoir
The news media is believed to play a critical role in creating public understandings of the relationship between health and physical activity. We suggest that in media analyses of physical activity and health, a limited approach to the analysis of media (where messages are seen to have direct attitudinal and behavioural effects on the audience) is still predominant leading to concerns about the 'accuracy' of media content and ignoring the socially constructed nature of news messages or the social meaning making undertaken by the audience.
We will first present an overview of findings from a recent research study that applied a more sophisticated form of media analysis, informed by two theoretical approaches - social construction and cultural studies, to the Canada on the Move campaign. This holistic approach to media analysis reveals the complex and frequently messy process of mediated communication. Issues of stake, professional practices, and wider social trends impact on both the production of the message and its eventual consumption and subversion by the audience.
Second, we will provide an overview of a current SSHRC funded research program, Fit to Print, which is concerned with understanding the reporting on and construction of health and physical activity research in the mainstream media. In a multi-layered approach, we are examining the environment in which messages about physical activity research are produced, transmitted, communicated and consumed in Canada. This project is timely in that it will invigorate a cultural studies approach to the media and extend the understanding of holistic approaches to media analysis.
Despite essential input of the community as subject matter for much if not all of the human and social science, the community has little opportunity for feedback or exchange. The academic community's communication of knowledge tends to be in large part restricted to the boundaries of the academic community, with exceptions restricted typically to applied and critical research and one-way communication between members of the academic community and the public.
Emerging new technologies provide new opportunities for greater public engagement in the social and human sciences. While most of the academic community and substantial parts of society are frequent users of online communications, it remains less accessible its meaning and utility is less evident to large groups of society. This study focuses on the attempt to use a website to open a portal between researcher and community in the case of research on early radio in Canada. By providing an accessible point for the interaction of seniors, who were a part of the early Canadian radio audience in the 1930s, this research represents a departure from most traditional historical inquiries. Developing technologies serve to supplement the attempts to resurrect audience reactions to early radio through digital recording of interviews and the website. By providing access to reminiscences of other listeners as well as adding to the research data, the technologies not only support research but provide a means for the communication of results and a place for the public to communicate its own feedback.
partenariats et réseaux
The Utilization of Knowledge in International
Development Policymaking: A Case Study on Building the Governance Knowledge
This paper discusses issues encountered in building and sustaining the Governance Knowledge Network (GKN) as a distributed community of practice (DCoP). We draw from our research experiences on building this DCoP and show various ways and strategies to sustain it. The methodology used in the project is grounded on an iterative process, aiming at continuously eliciting input from diverse and distributed researchers and practitioners working on issues in governance and international development across Canada. GKN is a collaborative initiative of the International Centre for Governance and Development at the University of Saskatchewan with the Policy Branch of the Canadian International Development Agency, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, Parliamentary Centre of Canada and Canadian Association of Studies in International Development. GKN aims primarily to initiate and foster knowledge sharing and knowledge aggregation among different practitioners and researchers working on issues on governance and international development in Canada. The research community that is the focus of attention includes Canadian university academics as well as those associated with organizations such as the Parliamentary Centre and will also reach into the international community with interests in governance and development. The practitioner community includes the professionals at the Policy Branch of CIDA as well as those responsible for various program operations and individual consultants in international development.
GKN is also to serve as a platform for sharing lessons, experiences and best practices on governance and international development. The web portal that would be operational by the summer of 2005 is a vehicle for profiling (a) unique Canadian dimensions of governance and development, (b) contemporary research on governance and development, (c) web-conferences on selected aspects of governance, (d) regular updates on new initiatives in governance and development around the world, and (e) periodic profiling of Canadian organizations that are active in governance and development. With the support of information and communication tools and processes, GKN is to act as a distributed community of practice in governance and development in Canada. In this paper the process involved in designing, building and sustaining GKN will be described, with main focus on highlights of key findings from previous and current work. In addition, the paper will elaborate on how GKN can support the utilization of knowledge in international development policymaking and analysis. Finally a sociotechnical approach showing various ways to effectively communicate knowledge and information to professionally diverse, and geographically distributed individuals with a similar interest, and working in one area of concern will be described.
Linking Research, Policy, and Practice on Immigration,
Integration, and Diversity: A Case Study of the Metropolis Project's Knowledge
The Metropolis Project works to strengthen the connections between research, policy and practice on issues related to immigration, integration and diversity. Founded in 1995, the Metropolis Project is now recognized as one of the largest policy research organizations of its kind, with links in Canada and abroad, and a multi-faceted approach to generating and disseminating research findings and policy discussion among a network of more than 5000 participants. Metropolis includes partners from a range of federal government departments, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, five academic Centres of Excellence, provincial and municipal governments, non-governmental organizations, and more than 20 countries. Metropolis undertakes a variety of activities using diverse knowledge transfer techniques to ensure that information is communicated widely and effectively. These include a suite of websites, international and national conferences, academic and popular publications, closed-door policy discussions, public panels, the media, a roster of courses on immigration and diversity aimed at transferring academic knowledge to policy and community partners, as well as an institutionalized approach to liaising with stakeholders. In 2005, Metropolis will conduct an inventory of its knowledge transfer activities using a survey of partners. At CATTW's conference, we will present an overview of this inventory using a case study approach. We will discuss our principle knowledge transfer activities, our formula for success, and the challenges that we face as we communicate both research and policy to an international, interdisciplinary and inter-sectoral network.
Citoyenneté et partage du savoir
The theme of this conference, and recent discussions about the future of SSHRCC, encourage us to consider the problems and possibilities of communicating research results to practitioners. Presumably, studies of work activity (in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, and other sites) could have direct benefits to practitioners and, through them, to the wider public. However, for a variety of reasons, workplace research rarely makes it back to practitioners in the form of useful knowledge. Some of those reasons are institutional: university-based researchers gain greater status through publication in scholarly journals than through workshops with or publications for practitioners. Some are political: organizations may be unwilling or unable to make the changes to practice that researchers suggest. And some are sheer force of habit: researchers are used to talking to each other.
This presentation will consider one researcher's attempts over 20 years to make his research available and useful to practitioners. The studies in question focused on social work literacy practices, particularly documentation habits. Since written reports constitute a central feature of professional social work, and have far-reaching consequences for workers and their clients, research into them should be shared with workers. The presenter will describe how, through publications, conference presentations, workshops, and consultation, he has attempted to engage practitioners in a consideration of his research and its implications for their work; he will also report on the ways in which those efforts have succeeded or failed.
Writing between the Academy and the Community:
Stories of a Research Study in Social Work
Our project explores the communicative practices that shape a body of texts generated by a participatory research study, "Link by Link: Creating Community with Survivors of Torture." Conducted for the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT) by both academic and community researchers, and jointly led by Adrienne Chambon and Mulugeta Abai (CCVT), this research study sought to document the practices of the Centre's Befriending Program with a view to their further enhancement. Our exploration of the writing practices that communicate this research will be interested in the transformations of genre, language, and voice that accompany shifts in audience within and between academic and community agency contexts. The texts arising from this research study are various, ranging from academic research reports and analytic publications in the social sciences to an experimental inquiry into the relations between social work research and art, using metaphoric and evocative means. They include a training manual for use in HOST programs for immigrants (a project of Citizenship and Immigration Canada). How is knowledge communicated to different audiences across these transformations of genre, language, and voice? What are the communicative effects of a collaboration between community and academic researchers? We will give particular consideration to the role narrative plays in these transformations of genre. We hope this initial exploration may lead to the inclusion of further cases and may have pedagogical implications for the teaching of writing in the context of social work and related disciplines, such as nursing and education.
The Community Law School: A Model for Public Education and Civic Engagement
Drawing on the authors' experiences with Community Legal Assistance Sarnia (CLAS), and the Community Law School (CLS) of Sarnia-Lambton, the paper addresses issues related to public education in areas of poverty law and civil (or human) rights. The authors touch on a number of the conference topics, focusing on linking social research and public education to civic engagement and fostering social change.
The paper places a discussion of systemic barriers to engagement between researchers/educators and socio-economically disadvantaged groups in the context of developments in the academic social sciences and social theory. The adoption of the 'business-model' by government funding agencies, together with pressures from the private-sector, increasingly favour social research defined by narrow economic parameters. These and other institutional biases, such as the use of specialised, technical language, create an ever-widening gulf between academics and 'the public'.
The Community Law School has been designed with these barriers and biases in mind. The paper describes how CLS grew out of CLAS (using the UBC project as inspiration) into a self-supporting (non-profit) organisation offering lay advocacy training and education in 'poverty' law in both formal and informal settings. We argue that the CLS (and CLAS) demonstrates how research and education can be used to reach out to marginalised groups and the broader community to foster civic engagement. We show how civic engagement, in turn, serves researchers, educators and the public in crafting effective educational programmes, and by improving communication tools through an ongoing dialogue that bridges the professional-lay person gap.
A lot of research has been done on how to better communicate the written word to an intended audience to ensure it is easier to read and understand. From this research has grown the "Plain Language Movement". This Movement has had a great impact on many areas but very little impact to date on the legal profession. At the Department of Justice we are trying to do something about this. We are studying the techniques of plain language to see if we can improve how we draft federal laws. Our laws have to reach a very broad audience with a wide variety of reading skills and studies have shown that the majority of Canadians have great difficulty reading and understanding the laws that govern them.
I will examine one of our special projects, a rewrite of the Employment Insurance Act. My presentation would walk the audience through the problems with the current text and then show how we have changed the drafting style and the layout features of the Act to try to better communicate the law on unemployment benefits to Canadians. We have done user testing on the rewritten version of the Act and have had very positive feedback. It is a good example of social sciences research leading to very practical results.
La communication du savoir en sciences humaines
From Granting Council to Knowledge Council -
Creating a New Research Environment
Social sciences and humanities (SSH) research constitutes one of the main pillars upon which civil society, economic stability, socio-cultural wealth, and societal values are built. However, while public opinion is quite favorable to research, particularly in engineering and health sciences, SSH research suffers from a paradox: the issues it deals with are present everywhere and, yet, SSH research is hardly visible anywhere. What is the nature of that paradox? Where are the problems coming from? Which of individual researchers, universities, or media are at fault? What can be done to remedy the situation?
As part of national consultations on renewing SSH research and research training, SSHRC asked the research community, learned associations, and other stakeholders to reflect on the public face of SSH. SSHRC also commissioned a study on the role of the media in SSH knowledge dissemination. This panel will summarize our findings and will draw upon them to identify the role that researchers, universities, learned associations, lobby groups, media, and politicians ought to play in maximizing the impact of SSH research in the public sphere.
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