Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change

In our fast-changing world, leaders are increasingly confronted by messy, multifaceted challenges that require collaboration to resolve. But the standard methods for tackling these challenges—meetings packed with data-drenched presentations or brainstorming sessions that circle back to nowhere—just don’t deliver.

Great strategic conversations generate breakthrough insights by combining the best ideas of people with different backgrounds and perspectives. In this book, two experts “crack the code” on what it takes to design creative, collaborative problem-solving sessions that soar rather than sink.

Drawing on decades of experience as innovation strategists—and supported by cutting-edge social science research, dozens of real-life examples, and interviews with well over 100 thought leaders, executives, and fellow practitioners— they unveil a simple, creative process that leaders and their teams can use to unlock solutions to their most vexing issues. The book also includes a “Starter Kit” full of tools and tips for putting the book’s core principles into practice.

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Posted in Change, Conversations, Meetings, Strategy | Tagged , , ,

Visual Meetings: How Graphics, Sticky Notes and Idea Mapping Can Transform Group Productivity

Use eye-popping visual tools to energize your people! Just as social networking has reclaimed the Internet for human interactivity and co-creation, the visual meetings movement is reclaiming creativity, productivity, and playful exchange for serious work in groups. Visual Meetings explains how anyone can implement powerful visual tools, and how these tools are being used to facilitate both face-to-face and virtual group work. This dynamic and richly illustrated resource gives meeting leaders, presenters, and consultants a slew of exciting tricks and tools, including

Graphic recording, visual planning, story boarding, graphic templates, idea mapping, etc.
Creative ways to energize team building, sales presentations, staff meetings, strategy sessions, brainstorming, and more
Getting beyond paper and whiteboards to engage new media platforms
Understanding emerging visual language for leading groups

Unlocking formerly untapped creative resources, Visual Meetings will help you and your team communicate ideas more effectively and engagingly.

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Posted in Facilitation, Meetings, Visual methodologies, Visualization | Tagged , , ,

Move over Science, Humanities’ Tech-savvy Research is making waves

From digital archives to 3D modelling, humanities research has undergone a technological revolution.

When you think of research on the cutting edge of technological change or bringing in investment from business you are more likely to think of engineering than history.

But while research in arts and humanities disciplines has not been as visible, over the last decade or so, the methods, outputs and impact of this research have actually undergone dramatic changes.

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Posted in Humanities, Research, Research methods, technology | Tagged , , ,

Ethics and Education Research

Part of the popular BERA/SAGE Research Methods in Education series, this is the first book to specifically focus on the ethics of Education research. Drawn from the authors’ experiences in the UK, Australia and mainland Europe and with contributions from across the globe, this clear and accessible book includes a wide range of examples. The authors show how to:

identify ethical issues which may arise with any research project
gain informed consent
provide information in the right way to participants
present and disseminate findings in line with ethical guidelines

All researchers, irrespective of whether they are postgraduate students, practising teachers or seasoned academics, will find this book extremely valuable for its rigorous and critical discussion of theory and its strong practical focus.

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Posted in Education, Educational action research, Educational research, Ethics | Tagged , , ,

The Research Bazaar

The Research Bazaar (ResBaz) is your one-stop shop for digital research tools, skills, and a community of support!

In late 2013, David F. Flanders recognised a problem: with over 500 research tools and apps available to researchers across a plethora of faculties and disciplines, a traditional information technology helpdesk wouldn’t suffice. In reality, the modern complexities of research far surpassed the basic needs of bibliography management and a proficiency in Microsoft Word. Data had become Big. There was talk of a ‘Cloud’. Inter-disciplinary was the new “it” word.

The smell of a shifting research game was pungent in the air. David’s solution was to create a community of support around research tools. Rather than sit down and teach research tools (R-stat, Python, CAD, MATLAB, CartoDb – the list goes on and on) to each individual researcher, build a supportive, dynamic, diverse community that has the ability to reproduce knowledge without the constant requirement of top-down support. A community could help people to research better, faster, smarter. And so the Research Bazaar – ResBaz – was born.

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Read also: ResBaz

Posted in Community, Research, Research methods, Research network | Tagged , , ,

The Practice of Co-operative Inquiry – Systemic Practice and Action Research

This issue of Systemic Practice and Action Research focuses on the practice of co-operative inquiry, and in particular on the choices and actions of those who initiate and facilitate co-operative inquiry groups. I have been struck how much the people who I talk to about co-operative inquiry want to hear stories: not just the theory and methodology, but the human stories about how it all works. They want to know how to initiate an inquiry group, how many people to include, how long the inquiry should go on for, how to locate an inquiry within an organization. In particular, they want to know about the personal qualities this kind of inquiry will demand, the attitudes and skills they will be required to manifest. Maybe the most frequent question people ask is about power and influence: If the inquiry is to be truly co-operative, does this mean that as initiator I cannot be influential?  The six papers in this issue address these concerns by providing accounts of how the authors—all of whom recently initiated and participated in co-operative inquiry projects—established and worked with inquiry groups.

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Posted in Action research, Change, Collaborative inquiry | Tagged , ,

The Process of Social Research

The Process of Social Research successfully meets two major challenges of teaching social science methods: to make the material interesting and accessible to students, and to provide them with the tools necessary to understand, evaluate, and conduct research. Authors employ a conversational writing style that is engaging and student-friendly. Using everyday examples to introduce chapters and clarify complex concepts, they provide current research examples on such cutting-edge topics as immigration, family composition, prosecutorial misconduct, organized racism, homelessness, social inequality and education, and alcohol consumption and grades. Placing a unique emphasis on the research process, the book helps students understand the logic and mechanics of social research, giving them the tools and the power to evaluate the research of others and to conduct their own research. Beginning with the introduction, every chapter contains flowcharts of research processes. As each diagram is presented, the authors relate the specific method to the overall research process. Then, over the course of the chapter or section, they flesh out each step. This way, they convey information about the “nuts and bolts” of research while ensuring that students do not lose sight of the logic of inquiry. Comprehensive and up-to-date without attempting to be encyclopedic in its coverage, The Process of Social Research provides a balance between qualitative and quantitative research, taking a more integrated approach to describing the relationship between theory and research.

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Posted in Methodology, Methods, Social research | Tagged , ,

Ethnic Diversity and Inequality – Ethical and Scientific Rigour in Social Research

Currently, much social research does not include minority ethnic people and communities and does not engage meaningfully with issues of ethnic diversity and inequality. Where research does address ethnicity, there is a wide range of theoretical and methodological approaches, as well as concerns regarding ethical standards. Increasing the quality and quantity of social research that addresses ethnicity will require particular knowledge, skills and competencies among researchers and research commissioners, as well as a commitment to ethical and scientific rigour in such work. The overall aim of the present project was to explore the feasibility and desirability of developing guidance at different points within the research cycle that could help commissioners of research, investigators, applicants and peer reviewers consider when and how ethnicity should be included in social policy relevant research projects. In order to achieve this aim, the project involved a series of review, consultation and piloting exercises through which we were able to (i) synthesise key ethical and scientific issues relating to ethnicity in social research; (ii) explore current concerns and practices among social researchers; and (iii) identify factors that support or hinder the use and impact of guidance on research practice.

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Posted in Ethnic, Inequality, Social research | Tagged , ,

Foundations for Research: Methods of Inquiry in Education and the Social Sciences

Designed for introductory research courses in the professional fields and social sciences, this text acquaints students and beginning researchers with a broad view of research methodologies and an understanding of the assumptions that inform each of these approaches. More experienced researchers will also find the book useful in acquainting them with methodologies and theoretical frameworks that are new to them.The text is distinguished by its avoidance of using the discreet categories of qualitative and quantitative methods to organize the chapters. While some chapter authors rely more on one or the other, many employ multiple methodologies to investigate particular problems and questions. Further, the book is not organized into single, contradictory positivist-interpretivist categories of research; chapter authors often situate methodologies within a variety of, and sometimes multiple, theoretical positions, particularly as these approaches are shaped by the historical context of social science research. Focus points in Foundations for Research: Methods of Inquiry in Education and the Social Sciences, research ethics, intertwined relationship of theory and research design, systematic examination of ways to design and implement high-quality, trustworthy research across varying research designs, specific methods for implementing research within various frameworks, pedagogical strategies.

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Posted in Research, Research methods | Tagged ,

After Method – Mess in Social Science Research

‘Research Methods’: a compulsory course, which is loved by some but hated by many! This stimulating book is about what went wrong with ‘research methods’. Its controversial argument is radical, even revolutionary. John Law argues that methods don’t just describe social realities but also help to create them. The implications of this argument are highly significant. If this is the case, methods are always political, and this raises the question of what kinds of social realities we want to create. Most current methods look for clarity and precision. It is usually said that messy findings are a product of poor research. The idea that things in the world might be fluid, elusive, or multiple is unthinkable. Law’s startling argument is that this is wrong and it is time for a new approach. Many realities, he says, are vague and ephemeral. If methods want to know and to help shape the world, then they need to reinvent their practice and their politics in order to deal with mess. That is the challenge. Nothing else will do. This book is essential reading for students, postgraduates and researchers with an interest in methodology. John Law is Professor of Sociology and Technology Studies at Lancaster University. He has written  widely on social theory, methodology, technologies, and health care.

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Posted in Methodology, Methods, Practice, Rhizomatic research, Social science | Tagged , , , ,