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How (not) to engage non-academic audiences: Lessons learned from the Arctic Circle Assembly

Written by Brett Lewis

Brett Lewis is a PhD student at Cardiff University. Currently in his first year, he has a background in economics and politics with an undergraduate degree in Economics from Swansea University, and a Masters in International Political Economy from the University of Warwick. Brett’s research interests are in international relations and the Arctic. Initially brought on by a previous dissertation that examined how the Sino-Russian relationship is made complicated and asymmetric due to the Arctic, Brett’s interest in the Arctic is now on the wider role that it has to play in geopolitics.

This past October I attended the Arctic Circle Assembly hosted in Reykjavik, Iceland. I had two simple missions to complete: experience my first academic conference and begin building my network, and to engage with stakeholders in the Arctic region on the matter of research fatigue and how research design can adapt to meet this challenge.

I can confidently say that the first mission was a roaring success. As an early PhD student, my network mimicked the contact list of a new phone without your old sim in it yet; and thanks to my supervisor it began to populate with experts with years of experience. I heard from a range of research backgrounds, discussed my interests with the best discussants I could have asked for, and I came away with much to think about for my own research.

The second mission was a humbling reminder that I am indeed an early PhD student.

Figure 1: Harpa at night

A World Café on Research Design from Perspectives of Non-Academics

I sought to harvest perspectives on research fatigue from non-academic persons to inform research design, particularly on the subject of Indigenous communities in the Arctic. Research fatigue is big issue for researchers both in attaining sufficient engagement for their research goals and ensuring good quality data. A community that becomes over-researched risks becoming disillusioned with research, losing interest in answering questions on their culture or even developing a negative relationship with research and the researchers that bother them (Kater 2022). Arctic communities are the focus of a great deal of scientific interest, and are therefore at elevated risk for becoming over-researched and symptomatic of research fatigue. The potential causes of research fatigue is a long list: the repetition of research methods gradually decreases interest in engagement (Drake et al. 2023), the lack of noticeable change as a result of engagement and failure to achieve specified research goals (Clark 2008), the mismatch between ethical paradigms of the researcher and the community they research (Mandel 2003), to name a few.

Adapting research design with an awareness of research fatigue can improve the ethical principles and quality of your research. Noticing the colonial underpinnings of research, for example, is a key difference that may improve research outcomes in Indigenous communities (Bartlett et al 2007).

While it was possible to extract the academic coverage on research fatigue quite easily, it would be a great opportunity to speak directly to non-academics at the Arctic Circle Assembly and hear their perspectives. This conference brings together over 2000 people from over 60 countries, some of which include peoples from Indigenous communities, various industries, politicians, people with general interests in Arctic affairs, and of course academics. It would arguably be the best opportunity to meet with direct stakeholders, what with the remote nature of the Arctic and all.

A World Café was the chosen approach to engaging these people. The World Café method is a simple way to get people talking and there is a great deal of guidance on how to carry one out. If you venture over to you can find extensive guidance, examples, resources, and testimonies about the method. Essentially, the method is designed around 7 guiding principles:

Figure 2: 7 Principles of the World Café

A typical World Café has strict—but flexible to the context—parameters that facilitate highly resourceful discussions on concentrated subjects. Perhaps the most common configuration of a World Café consists of a large room filled with small tables with 3-5 seats at each table. A person is designated as a ‘host’ at each table, which simply means that they do not move from their assigned table, while the other participants will move between tables. The session is structured into rounds, whereby a question is posed to the room to discuss at their respective tables, before another round begins. As the rounds change, this is the point that the non-hosts will move between tables. The final round then ‘harvests’ the conversations had in the previous rounds in a big open group discussion. There is a strictness to a World Café that gives it a rigid structure, but the parameters can vary significantly depending on the context of the session you want to run.

Figure 3: Standard Configuration of a World Café

This was a favourable detail of the World Café that worked for me as I did not manage to get a slot in the conference programme, which would have been the ideal setting as it would have granted me access to a large room, with tables and chairs, and it would have advertised my session to every participant. Fortunately, the conference has meeting rooms that are free to book out for several slots throughout the 3 days of the assembly. This brought about the challenge of adapting my World Café to meet the circumstances which was fairly straightforward. While it was not ideal, the maximum capacity of these rooms was 10, they only had one single table, and I would have to manually recruit participants throughout the conference. So, rather than having the scattered small groups, the intention was to split the table into thirds using tape dividers and to designate the first person clockwise of the divider as the host. Then, it would proceed exactly as a typical World Café would: a question would be posed to the groups for which they would have a 15-minute round to discuss, before the non-hosts migrate to another group and begin the next round.

A World Café is highly configurable to meet the circumstances that you have to deal with. With proper planning, it is conceivable that a session can be hosted in most settings with help of the resources on offer on the World Café website.

Interest is not guaranteed

Despite my best intentions, my adapted plans, and my desire to see the World Café through, it didn’t happen.

I employed simple strategies for recruitment for my session: talk with people during and at the end of sessions that were relevant to my World Café topic, or catch people as they moved between sessions and approach them as they enjoyed coffee and lunch breaks throughout the day. There were a few reasons why this didn’t work:

  • Conflicting sessions.

There were over 200 sessions on the programme, and the organisers did an exceptional job of allowing people to attend a diverse range of sessions by allocating a diverse range of sessions in each session slot. If you wanted to attend a session on geopolitics, for example, but also wanted to attend a session on Arctic shipping, you could usually find the option to go to one now and another later. This was not so great for me, as the opportunity cost of attending an organised session with a panel of experts on a topic that was of particular interest to them was usually the more favoured option over my small meeting room, understandably. It was also the case that some people were speakers in conflicting sessions to my slots so it was simply impossible to recruit everyone.

  • Sensitivity of the topic.

People were unwilling to attend a session on a subject matter that they considered to be a sensitive or overcovered topic. To some, this matter was sufficiently well discussed and they felt they had nothing to add to the discussion. To others, particularly those closer to Indigenous communities, the topic of research fatigue is a sensitive topic. As previously mentioned, over-researched communities can develop a hostile relationship with research as they feel that their culture is a scientific curiosity to researchers. Where I was asking them to talk about research fatigue with me, a researcher, I was propagating a negative relationship whereby the over-researched community is yet again the subject of more research.

  • My ability to persuade people to attend.

It sounded like an easy enough task to ask people to attend a structured session and have them talk to each other for a little while. But I’ve never done this before so how do I go about persuading people to attend a session outside of the programme? With me, a 3rd-week PhD student? Ultimately, this was the single biggest hurdle for which I had not accounted for.

In retrospect, a place on the programme would have made a big difference for the odds of success for my session. While it would not have appealed to everyone, it would have been advertised on an equal standing with other sessions and reduced the part I had to play in recruiting participants.

Working the problem

As it became clear that my World Café was not going to happen, a change in strategy became necessary.

While I could not garner sufficient interest to attend a structured session, I could still engage the same audiences in a different manner. I reverted back to my strategies for recruitment and adapted their purpose away from recruiting to harvesting. Rather than pitching my World Café, I was now talking to them directly with the same exact questions I had intended to use previously. In fact, I had unknowingly been doing this already. When I was attempting to recruit people previously, I was gauging their knowledge on research fatigue, research design, and their awareness of Indigenous communities. By the end of the conference I had spoken to more people than I had hoped to have attend my intended World Café in the first place. As they were more focused conversations, I was able to tailor the questions to meet the circumstances of the moment, be it either to the level of awareness on the subject matter of the person or to allow multiple people to speak when I was engaging multiple people at the same time.

What I had ended up doing was effectively semi-structured interviews. While I lost the structure that the World Café might have provided in ensuring crosspollination of ideas, I gained a flexibility that allowed me to have conversations with people in ways which suited them. It would have been preferable to host a World Café and harvest the result of various crosspollinated conversations, but I still managed to collect relevant data that would have gone amiss without a change in strategy.

A key reflection that made the difference between coming away with something or nothing at all, was that it was prudent to anticipate that I didn’t have infinite time to change strategy. I had booked out various time slots on every day for the World Café, but it was during day 2 of 3 where the time slots that were slipping away from me were what I considered to be my ‘best shot’ of a successful World Café signalled that it was decision time. Rather than pinning all hopes on the slots on the 3rd day (which would have amped up the pressure on myself, too) it was a better use of my time to resort to my new strategy.

One issue still stood out that required further adaptation was the sensitivity on the subject matter that some were wary of. It was not impossible to engage with these people on the issue of research fatigue so long as they were guaranteed the condition of anonymity. This was fundamentally important in gaining trust of these people to allow them to open up on the questions I had. Some, however, did not want to engage whatsoever. Unfortunate as this was for me and my goals it signalled that sometimes the best option is to not engage in research as this is what is in the community’s best interest (Sukarieh and Tannock 2013).

Moving on

Hopefully my experience at the Arctic Circle Assembly has brought some useful tips for when things don’t go the way you had hoped. I find that there is much guidance and information on how to carry out a given method but it is not usually discussed what you should do when the circumstances don’t favour the best case scenario.

The funny thing is that you probably have the skills to adapt to the circumstances already. I reflected greatly on the skills and knowledge I picked up on the SSRM, for example. I thought about what I’ve learned about ethics and was sure to include that in my planned routine when introducing participants to my session, but ended up practicing it anyway with my awareness of anonymity as an option for participants. Rather than the method I wanted to use, I drew on the interview block from the qualitative research methods module to structure my discussions with individuals. I also used my recent dissertation as a springboard to start discussions before moving into research design and research fatigue, which also came in handy with engaging with people with interests in Arctic marine spatial planning and therefore gave me unique insights.

One final reflection is that my supervisor played a key role in supporting me throughout my experience at the assembly. The encouragement and advice he offered kept me steady as I faced the challenges throughout the conference. No man is an island, as they say.

To sum up:

  • Sometimes your best-laid plans just don’t work out, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be adapted to meet the circumstances of the occasion. Spending some time on contingencies will be something I will incorporate into future research excursions.
  • The World Café is a solid method for data collection of a diverse range of perspectives. Hopefully next time I’ll have that data to report back on.
  • Challenges are to be expected in research. Adapting rather than accepting is much more favourable. Make sure to consult your supervisor when things go wrong, as they are there to support you.
  • Learning when not to research sounds counterintuitive, but it is sometimes in the best interest of the participant not to pursue research.
  • Building your social skills is—at least in my opinion—as important as knowing the method.

Figure 4: Reykjavik from Harpa


Bartlett et al. 2007. Framework for Aboriginal-guided decolonizing research involving Métis and First Nations persons with diabetes. Social Science & Medicine, (65)11, pp. 2371-2382.

Clark, T. 2008. ‘We’re over-researched here!’: Exploring accounts of research fatigue within qualitative research engagements. Sociology, (42)5, pp. 953-970.

Drake et al. 2023. Bridging Indigenous and Western sciences: Decision points guiding aquatic research and monitoring in Inuit Nunangat. Conservation Science and Practice, (5)8, pp. 1-22.

Kater, I. 2022. Natural and Indigenous sciences: Reflections on an attempt to collaborate. Regional Environmental Change, (22)109, pp. 1-15.

Mandel, J. L. 2003. Negotiating expectation in the field: Gatekeepers, research fatigue and cultural biases. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, (24)2, pp. 198-210.

Sukarieh, M. and Tannock, S. 2013. On the problem of over-researched communities: The case of the Shatila Palestinian Refugee camp in Lebanon. Sociology, (47)3, 494-508.

Figure 1: Harpa at night (Brett Lewis, 2023. Pictures of Iceland).

Figure 2: 7 Principles of the World Café ( Licensed under Creative Commons) Available at

Figure 3: Standard Configuration of a World Café ( Licensed under Creative Commons) Available at

Figure 4: Reykjavik from Harpa (Brett Lewis, 2023. Pictures of Iceland).

Online Fieldwork in Conflict Affected Areas

When I started my collaborative ESRC funded PhD in September 2019, I imagined I’d spend many months traveling for my fieldwork. My research topic looks at nonviolent responses to armed conflict, and civilians protecting themselves and each other without the use of weapons in violent conflict. During the first 6 months of the programme, I planned fieldwork interviews and workshops, as well as participant observations in practitioner conferences. Ethical and security considerations limited where I could travel, but as my project was a collaborative one with an NGO in the civilian protection sector, I was able to make contacts and plans for travel relatively quickly. When travel restrictions were first imposed in March 2020, I naïvely assumed that I could wait it out; spend a few months on my literature review before travelling, as planned, for my in-person fieldwork. By September 2020, I realised this would not be possible, and I’d need to make alternative plans.

Zoom Interviews and Workshops

Like many other researchers in 2020, I took the decision to move my fieldwork online. While this limited who I would be able to speak to – access to stable internet connections can be tricky in conflict affected areas – I reassured myself that online research could also be an opportunity to reach more people who would either be too busy to meet with me in person, or located in areas I wouldn’t (for financial or ethical reasons) have been able to travel to. I also organised an online workshop with around 20 practitioners, as I was keen to hear conversations between practitioners in a more relaxed environment than one-to-one interviews. While it was relatively easy to schedule this fieldwork (in comparison to face-to-face), there were a number of difficulties of working online this way that I either had not anticipated, or had underestimated.

(Un)social Distancing

Interviews are always tricky, especially when using a qualitative interpretive methodology where I was interested in how people made sense of their work, rather than extracting objective information. Creating a relaxed environment online, I found, was even more difficult. Telling their stories of living and working in armed conflict was an emotional experience for a lot of my participants, and not being able to give them some privacy as I could in a coffee shop by going to order another drink was difficult and felt unnatural. During one interview, the interviewee had a Zoom filter on to hide their background, and I found it very difficult to get them to relax and talk about their own experiences, rather than their organisation. Around 30 minutes in, their dog jumped up onto their lap, which disrupted the background filter so they turned it off. They then showed me around their apartment, and I showed them around mine while we talked about working from home, loneliness, and our fears during the pandemic. When I restarted the interview, the atmosphere had completely changed. They were far more relaxed and conversational, and even went back to previous questions to tell me different stories relating to them.

I realised then that being able to create a shared space with people was an important part of building a rapport. From then on, I asked interview and workshop participants to along bring objects or photographs that described how they felt about their work, and to talk me through specific memories they had. While this didn’t fully replicate my being there with them, I learned a lot from how participants would describe their towns and villages, and how the spaces they worked in shaped their imaginations of it. These object allowed research participants to talk around difficult subjects, and to show me what it was often difficult to tell with words.

Other Challenges

Another important (if slightly obvious) challenge of online research is failing internet connections. I spent months carefully planning an online workshop with practitioners in South Sudan – even down the composition of each breakout group. When the time came, however, unstable internet connections across three continents derailed my carefully drawn plan. Participants were leaving groups quicker than I could readd them, and halfway through telling an important story, people’s internet would cut out and they would leave the call. Having research assistant’s there to handle some of the technical issues was a great help, but having to abandon a plan I had spent hours agonising over was scary. I made the decision to only focus on two of the four topic areas I had planned with more time for each discussion. This meant that even with the technical difficulties, groups still had time for some in-depth discussions. I also had participants send me photographs and voice-notes on WhatsApp, which I then shared with the group. While the workshop was stressful for me, it was a shared and often fun experience. It gave me the opportunity to follow up informally with participants, laugh about the technical issues, and have more relaxed conversations.

Top tips for online research:

  1. Plan:  Spending so many hours planning gave me the confidence to be able to think on my feet and improvise, without having to consult my plans and notes, as I’d learned them by heart
  2. Abandon the plan: While it might seem scary, knowing when to abandon the plan and improvise is important, because you can never foresee every possibility. Some of my best research findings came this way
  3. Keep a diary: Keep a research diary after every interview/ workshop/ conference/ piece of research you do. I find taking a walk and recording a voice-note on my phone straight after allows me to decompress. Even small reflections that you notice at the time but would usually forget can turn into important ideas if you keep a note of them.
  4. Ask your participants what they want: While planning my workshop, I had many exchanges with participants about how best to design the session. Taking photographs worked really well for some interview participants, but could be dangerous for others so finding multiple ways for participants to engage (beyond traditional interviews) is more inclusive.

Although my research has definitely turned out differently to how I’d planned it in a pre-Covid world and online research has been a challenge, it has also allowed me to interview participants in many more projects than my initial plan of three case studies. It also gave me the opportunity to get creative in my research methods. After two pandemic years I was used to improvising when things didn’t go quite right in my workshops and that’s something that will be useful in all future research. I’m hoping to follow up with people in person after completing my PhD but I will keep hold of some of my online methods, and always ask people to bring along objects that represent themselves. My research didn’t go as planned, but Covid has taught us that nothing ever does!

You can contact and follow Louise’s PhD journey using the icons below:

Creative practices of research and practices of welcome for refugees and asylum seekers in rural Wales.


I am researching practices of welcome for refugees and asylum seekers in rural Wales – which often centre on activities such as cooking, walking, dancing, events, and outings. It looks at how people encountering each other through these groups, connect across very different experiences of migration and of language, and very different senses of familiarity with being in rural Wales, and how they make meaning and tell stories around migration, welcome and belonging through the activities they participate in.

I am exploring the idea of seeing these activities as ‘literacies of doing’ and how this relates to language understood by Pennycook, Simpson and others as a social participation. I’m interested in how communicative repertoires of both spoken and unspoken language, are assembled in improvised and creative ways and how this can shift away from the dominance of English language seen as a fixed entity, and competence in it used as signifier of belonging and test for citizenship. As the study progresses, ideas around language seem to be as significant in the research practices as they are in the encounters of welcome themselves, and so I’ve become interested in the interplay between the two.

For one case study I re-connected with some participants for a project based on their experiences of staying in a domestic, home environment here in a village in rural Wales.  As we couldn’t meet, we created and exchanged postcards.  Postcards worked as small, easily available, mobile objects carrying meaning through a combination of image and a short chunk of text, enabling people with a wide range of language and literacy skills in English to participate. I was struck by Pennycook (2010) using the example of writing a postcard to elaborate on the idea of language as a social practice, as ‘a set of bundled activities There is the obvious moment of writing the card – but it’s also about images, feelings, knowledges, memories, anticipations, connections between people and ‘multifaceted relations to place’ (Pennycook 2010 p3).

Other communicative practices grew around the postcard exchange – a WhatsApp group and a creative card making Zoom session enriched the repertoire of resources available for a shared language of participation. Boundaries between spoken, written and visual language, working with technology and with paper, being in physical and digital space, were broken down as people seemed to combine and switch frequently and easily between them. The card I made was of the Zoom screen. 

There was something, for me, particularly affecting about the material aspect of the postcards, the textures, the mark making, the packing and unpacking and the unexpected intimacy of handwritten text. As these objects moved between us they narrated our experience in a different mode to the immediacy of spoken dialogue. There were pauses while we waited for a reply, time to dwell on cards received and consider our response. We had a chance to say things that we didn’t say at the time of the encounters we shared. 

The current phase of research is with a local Town of Sanctuary group I’m involved with. Conversation Café is a weekly meet up originally organised as a space for families resettled here to practice their English. Two of these sessions were used to do some making  with images and text, based around people’s experiences of the Town of Sanctuary activities. I guess I was mistakenly hooked on what would be produced, while actually, what was happening in the room around the making was what I needed to pay more attention to. As Hawkins puts it – ‘sitting with the process rather than the output’. 

The collage on the left shows pics of the making and some of the finished work, but threaded between the images, I’ve noted the live conversations and actions running through the practice as, rather than incidental, these seem just as significant as the images that we were aiming to produce. 

Without trying to make it fit too neatly, I would say that some of the creative research methods and experiences echo what happens in the interactions of welcome which are the focus of the research. The assembling of improvised communicative repertoires of spoken and unspoken language through creative practices of ‘doing’ takes place in both. Some of the ideas that circulate around both are to do with the way connections and meanings are formed through a mix of deliberate and improvised activities and the significance of the incidental as well as the planned. This links to questions around how stories emerge from practices that are more organised, controlled, and reflective or more chaotic, immediate and spontaneous. So, when thinking about ways in which narratives about migration welcome and belonging are created through practices of welcome, it seems important to pay attention to what has come up through the process, not just the results.

Overall, I’m looking for ways to piece things all altogether. I’m drawn to using fragments, mosaics, patchwork; intersected or layered with language. I think this also reflects what happens more generally in the encounters of welcome themselves, not just this research context – the spaces where spoken and unspoken language practices blend in small scale, quite transient fragments of people’s lives. 

This collage is one I made from some of the material produced in the postcard project with fragments from the text overlaying the images. I’m hoping to assemble the collection of cards from this project into a small mobile exhibition, firstly here in the village hall in Llanvapley. I’ve found myself thinking ahead to how they could be arranged or assembled – thematically, or as conversations. I considered whether to indicate the authors of the cards as refugees, other transnational migrants, volunteers, workers, researcher, or combinations thereof or leave them completely uncategorised. This visual and spatial thinking has been helpful in considering how to talk and write about the project – to narrate the human stories circulating around the cards as artefacts. Trying to find ways to let the cards speak for themselves but also extend the conversation through engaging with theory and scholarship around mobilities, welcome, belonging, and rurality. But obviously I need to shape things into a PhD study too, so I guess I’m also looking for a suitable language practice and communicative repertoire myself, in order to do that, and to do justice to what participants have produced.


Hawkins, H. (2019) Geography’s creative (re)turn: Towards a critical framework. Progress in Human Geography 43(6) 963-984

Pennycook, A. (2010) Language as a Local Practice Routledge, Oxon, NY 

Pennycook, A. (2012) Language and mobility: Unexpected places. Multilingual Matters Bristol, Buffalo, Toronto

Simpson, J. (2015) English language learning for adult migrants in superdiverse Britain. In James Simpson & Anne Whiteside (Eds) Adult Language Education and Migration Challenging agendas in policy and practice Ch 15 200-2013 Routledge, NY and Oxon

You Got Your PhD With THAT? (Part II)

Oh, hello, there! You look like I know you from Part I of this post? If not (a) your face is awfully familiar to someone else and (b) you might want to go there. It would make the experience of reading what follows here more…coherent? Enjoyable?

More like the author intended, anyway. For those of you whose reading skills have already been tested in part I, this is – unsurprisingly – the sequel to your adventure, called: Part II Continue reading

‘I know what I want to say, but I just can’t write it down!’ – Look like a familiar trope? Unless you are of the rare breed of (novice) researchers, who just happens to be an erudite word artist, you might find that ‘writing a thesis’ is much more than ‘just writing stuff down’. That is, I would argue, in large parts due to the idea of what a ‘thesis’ is supposed to look like, i.e. (implicit and explicit) conventions on how to format and formalise ‘outcomes’ of successful PhD research. Such premeditated norms, however, function arguably less as orientational guidelines and more like incredibly high bars to jump over, as part of a somersault through the proverbial burning loop of tight deadlines and inexperience. Even with growing experience, such norms influence research dissemination forms a.k.a. ‘outputs’ at later research stages with similarly stress-inducing consequences.

This blog post suggests (and hopefully incites) questioning the established Modus Operandi of ‘disseminating research findings’ or ‘sharing knowledge’. In such a ‘writing against writing norms’ spirit, I refer anecdotally to my PhD thesis that is a Live-Action Role-Play (LARP) to make several points about unconventional research methods and their possible usefulness. But just to take off the edge straight away: Yes, I did get my title with that. Continue reading

Creative methods for the not so creative

Using creative methods in qualitative research is not a new practice. There is a huge amount of variability in what ‘creative methods’ entails. This can include asking participants to take photos (Croghan et al. 2008), draw (Bagnoli 2009), make timelines (Mazzetti and Blenkinsopp 2012) and even creating scenes using children’s sand-trays (Mannay et al. 2017). Even though creative methods were taught during my Masters degree, the technique still felt intimidating.  I regarded it as being more suited for those with artistic temperaments and my creative speciality tends to be drawing stick figures. Continue reading

Using Performance in Research

This blog article outlines the use of performance – namely public walks and small dramatic interventions – as part of research methodology and practice. This article is supported with links to a short video made as part of this work and supported by the 2019 ESRC Festival of  Social Science. At the conclusion we offer theory that performance supports research practice of generosity and open engagements. Continue reading

XML mark-up: an annotation tool for discourse analysis

Working recently on a critical discourse analysis project that required annotation of sentencing remarks from UK judges, our team were introduced to the practice of XML mark-up. Manual XML coding was used as a way of recording the different representation strategies used by the judges when referring to the convicted offenders (Van Leeuwen 2008). This blog delves into the theory behind the annotation method to explain how manual XML mark-up contributes to the linguistic research process. Continue reading

The Challenges of Conducting School-Based Research

Prior to being awarded an Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Wales Doctoral Training Centre (DTC) Studentship, I worked as a Research Administrator at the Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement (DECIPHer), Cardiff University. DECIPHer brings together leading experts from a range of disciplines to tackle public health issues such as diet and nutrition; physical activity; and tobacco, alcohol and drugs, with a particular focus on developing and evaluating multi-level interventions that will have an impact on the health and wellbeing of children and young people. Continue reading

In Defence of Pragmatism: Less a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ and more a ‘Community Chest’

For myself, undertaking a ‘Research Methods’ MSc was my earliest introduction to the ontologies and epistemologies we hold as individuals and researchers. It can be intriguing and exciting learning about the intrinsic views we hold regarding the nature of the world (Ontology), and what we deem as acceptable knowledge (Epistemology). However, during this time I found myself at a crossroads, agreeing with varying aspects of different ontologies and epistemologies, seeing a place for both positivism and interpretivism, especially when different research questions are posed. Continue reading