The question on a number of academic minds is – how to translate research into practice? As it leads towards impact and that is the golden goose egg for universities.
I recently tried to translate my research into practice through a blog post for the Sport and Recreation Alliance. For me the challenges were: what language to use, the length of the piece and the relevance to the real world. As a PhD student surrounded by theory and data with a purpose of writing for academic supervisors, surely a blog or short article would be simple? No, not at all.
The real world of practice works at a completely different speed and often wants research results (without the extensive theoretical jargon). Academia is slower, more cumbersome (methodological), and wants research with rigorous and extensive process and theoretical underpinning (with the jargon). The task at hand in my opinion, therefore, is to find compromise and evolve to satisfy both the real world of practice, and the theoretical world of research.
I am starting to meander this task through presenting my research in different ways to different audiences. The monthly blog for the Alliance is an example of such. The research it is based on is currently embargoed by the commissioning body. Consequently, I needed to get out of my researcher comfort zone and write more conversationally and informally, but with an informed undertone.
Here is the product – http://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/blogs/verity-postlethwaite/-is-your-organisation-diverse
Any comments are more than welcome, on either content or style.
Post the publishing a few concluding thoughts around the writing process. The benefits of writing for a different audience is healthy for understanding the framing of a research question or results. Moreover, collaboration is cyclical and even though my research informed the content of the blog, it was the expertise from Thea and the Alliance team that developed my skills in translating the research for a wider audience.
In no way have I solved the age old conundrum of how to always translate research into practice, however, I am going to start writing more frequently for different audiences, with different length and purpose of the pieces. Such habits can only assist in bridging research and practice.