Monday, 30 July 2012

Families, Relationships and Societies, issue 2

cover image of Families, Relationships and SocietiesEagerly awaited by many of us at CRFR, issue 2 of Families, Relationships and Societies has just been published. Many of the articles draw on the rich accounts of qualitative research, and themes of relationships and parenting dominate.

Access to the journal is free for 2012 by emailing

Taking the relationships theme, Julie Carter explores theories of commitment from a female perspective in her interviews with young women aged 19-30 years. Lester Coleman and colleagues outline an academic and voluntary sector collaboration seeking to enhance relationship support for 'mixed' couples and families. And lastly, Ciara O'Dwyer and colleagues are interested in how grandparents cope with relationship breakdown among their adult children.

Parenting is another strong theme. Rhiannon Evans and Sally Holland make an important contribution by positioning their research on child protection within the context of 'troublesome' families - policy areas which are typically dealt with seperately. The authors suggest that many protective activities are carried out by communities labelled as 'troublesome'. Issues of child safety are similarly picked up in research by Anna Conolly and Jenny Parkes. Their work has gathered the experienes of young people's living in areas affected by high youth crime in relation to their parents' strategies to keep them safe.

Jeni Harden and colleagues present a very different aspect of parenting, exploring how parents negotiate paid work and care responsibilities. The authors emphasise the inevitable flexibility that emerges in boundaries between work and home, for example in relation to how time is managed and negotiated.

Sandra Cunning and colleagues shift the focus to evaluation, presenting a case-study of a Canadian mental health agency where evidence-based practices were implemented as part of a significant organsiational change process.

While Artur Steinerowski and Mike Woolvin present findings from an action research project in rural Scotland to reflect on the challenges and opportunities to support older people to establish social enterprises.

The Open Space article this month is from our own Sarah Morton and close collaborators David Phipps and Sandra Nutley to ask how research can be used to influence family services and policies. The article begins by outlining the growth in academic understanding of reserach use and offers some emerging lessons about reserach use can be improved. It continues by relating experiences of CRFR's work over the last 10 years and also experiences from the Knowledge Mobilization (KMb) Unit at York University in Toronto, Canada.
Editorial is by Brid Featherstone & Tess Ridge.

Visit the contents page by clicking here to access all the articles.

1 comment:

  1. Great and informative article about the role of research and how to improve research use that moves beyond Weis's often-quoted work, and what now can be considered the out-dated "two-communities" approach. Just a few points I'd like to make about the article:

    First, yes, there are different groups of research user, but in fact, aren't we all research users?

    Second, excellent pointing out that the role of research use can be messy and difficult to trace. Attempting to trace every human interaction is also difficult and can also be messy, but every contact is a potential for research impact, evaluation and greater understanding of research use.

    Third, the article rightly states from Nutley’s Lessons, “It is more realistic to talk of evidence-informed than evidence-determined policy” or evidence-based (which is far too often used) to describe research outcomes that determine policy. Great point.

    Fourth, as research is a social process, the article also rightly states the necessity to “target multiple voices to increase opportunities for evidence to become part of policy discourse.” As this is a challenging process in itself to get people to interact – can we not make greater use of social media in more meaningful ways online to address this challenge? The paper points out the further difficulty of such interaction due to the current recession; however, the use of social media like Twitter is still free as far as I know. Can we not make greater use of social media to connect researchers and research users with policy makers to get them to pay more attention to address issues? The problem may be to get people to use social media for this in more meaningful ways, but still perhaps a more cost-effective way.

    Finally, as a community-based Knowledge Mobilizer and theoretical knowledge broker, I was very pleased to see the paper address the important role that knowledge brokers continue to play in the research process. Thank you especially for highlighting the work of York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit in Canada - and now internationally. All in all, this paper is a worth the read.