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Title: Involving non-academic users in social science research : collaboration between management academics and practitioners
Author: Sharifian-Sani, Maryam
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1999
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The motif of a 'closer relationship' between academics and practitioners in doing research and the impetus for 'user engagement' in different stages of social science research has become a subject of considerable interest to policy-makers over recent years and has featured in policy statements of government. Following the UK Government's 1993 White Paper, Realising our Potential: A Strategy for Science, Engineering and Technology, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) emphasised meeting the needs of the non-academic users of social science research and introduced a policy which enhanced funding opportunities to academics proposing to engage with an explicit agenda of collaboration. But is this initiative sufficient to realise the benefit of its proposed outcomes? Are policy-makers aware of the possibilities and limitations of research collaboration between academics and practitioners in practice? The aim of this qualitative study is to explore the perceptions of academics and practitioners of the process of research collaboration and to provide a better understanding of this process. Projects for study were identified from those which were on ESRC's list of funded research projects in the management discipline and which appeared to be responding to the ESRC's encouragement of collaboration between academics and non-academic users of their research. Findings from this study are presented through three cases of research collaboration between academics and practitioners, who were interviewed in their workplaces. The findings are combined with the results of supplementary interviews with academics in other management departments in British universities and policy-makers in the ESRC. Bringing the results together demonstrates how research collaboration works out in practice, and what the academics' and practitioners' views of research collaboration are. The findings also reveal some limitations of collaboration on both sides which need to be considered by those promoting or entering into research collaboration. In addition, this study develops a theoretical discussion of research collaboration based on existing literature of collaboration in other contexts (especially science and technology Research and Development and inter-organisational collaboration) and suggests directions for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available