Improving the i2Insights blog: Your ideas are welcome!

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Gabriele Bammer (biography)

Community member post by Gabriele Bammer and Peter Deane

As a reader, are there aspects of this i2Insights blog that you would like to see changed? Do you have specific suggestions for improvements? Are there things that work well and that you would like to see continue?

We are currently reviewing how to improve the blog and how easily the resources it provides can be found. Your input will help us think about changes to incorporate and how to use our time in producing the blog to maximum effect. We briefly set the context for the blog and then pose a series of questions that outline the changes we are considering. All input is welcome. You can address one or more of the questions below or raise other issues. You can post in the comments section or contact us privately via: https://i2insights.org/contact/.

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Peter Deane (biography)

What the blog aims to achieve

The primary aim of the blog is to connect disparate groups of people for the purpose of sharing concepts, methods, theory and processes – referred to collectively as tools – for research on complex societal and environmental problems. The tools cover research integration and implementation, broadly defined.

The rationale is that there are many networks and teams who have no central point of connection, which results in:

  • no mechanism for passing on useful tools
  • no easy way to learn from each other
  • much reinventing of the wheel
  • reduced chances that existing tools will be improved
  • reduced chances that adaptations of tools to particular circumstances will be documented.

The blog also provides a venue to share lessons from case studies, as well as to share ideas about educating the next generation to tackle complex problems. Finally, there are occasional blog posts on how to get research on integration and implementation accepted into the academic mainstream, referred to as ‘institutionalisation’.

The i2Insights blog is one project under the Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) umbrella and we are currently reviewing how to better integrate the blog with a resources repository on the i2S website. That repository not only provides tools and case studies, but also showcases relevant journals, professional associations and networks, as well as conferences, all of which provide ways of linking with others interested in researching and addressing complex real-world problems.

Our current review of the i2Insights blog

Now that we are in our fourth year of operation, we are reviewing the following aspects of the blog:

  • the ability of readers to connect with like-minded researchers and practitioners
  • the ability of readers to find useful tools, both on the blog and on the i2S resources repository
  • our blog ‘house style’
  • blog content.

A. Connecting with like-minded researchers and practitioners – would you like:

  1. a more detailed bibliography provided by the blog authors, eg., referring to their education and/or citations of key work?
  2. anything else (please specify)?

B. Finding useful tools – would you like:

  1. more specific links to related blog posts?
  2. changes to the tags we provide (please specify; note that tags are the words listed under a blog post title)?
  3. an improved search capacity?
  4. links to related tools on the i2S website (https://i2s.anu.edu.au/resources/tools)?
  5. anything else (please specify)

C. House style – would you like to see changes in:

  1. the length of blog posts (currently limited to 500-1000 words)?
  2. the policy of minimal references (only those directly cited)?
  3. the policy of opening and closing with questions? Do you find the questions engaging?
  4. anything else (please specify)?

D. Blog content:

  1. are there topics that you would like to see covered or to see more coverage of? (If yes, please specify)
  2. are there topics that you would like to see less coverage of? (If yes, please specify)
  3. anything else (please specify)?

Final questions

What are the key things you get from reading the blog? Would you like to be involved in producing the blog or in disseminating blog posts?

We will report on how we have incorporated your suggestions for changing the blog in a future blog post.

Biography: Gabriele Bammer PhD is a professor at The Australian National University in the Research School of Population Health’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. She is developing the new discipline of Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) to improve research strengths for tackling complex real-world problems through synthesis of disciplinary and stakeholder knowledge, understanding and managing diverse unknowns, and providing integrated research support for policy and practice change. 

Biography: Peter Deane is a Research Officer on the Integration and Implementation Sciences (i2S) team at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health in the Research School of Population Health at The Australian National University.

12 thoughts on “Improving the i2Insights blog: Your ideas are welcome!

  1. Dear Gabriele Bammer, i2s is a wonderful initiative. However, even though I have signed up for the blog and received your kind access to posting blogs in my email; after setting up my blogging ability here, when I click on the ‘write’ link in the banner above, wordpress asks me to create my own blog site. I dont want to do that! I want to post on the i2s blog site. How do I do that????
    David

  2. Hello Gabriele and Peter, thanks for the opportunity to comment. I really enjoy this blog. This is a new community for me (creative arts therapies in acute health background) and I value the resources and people introduced here. I find the blog the right length – I call it a “three-sip” read i.e., I can skim read it in three sips of coffee, and come back to it later if it is of interest. I find the focused range of links useful. Like another commentator above I appreciate the photos and bios for writers, often leading to some of their fascinating work. The tags are good, the word cloud on the same page always catches my peripheral vision, and I often link through both. At the risk of showing my age, this blog is like looking for one book on a library shelf, and then running my finger along the spines of other texts in the same area….
    Thanks for your efforts, don’t change it too much !

    • Thanks Kit, it would be very helpful if you could elaborate your points a little.

      One message, I think, is to redesign the blog so that it shows more content on the home page (not just one blog post) – which is illustrated by many of the examples. This is something we are already actively considering, with another model (in addition to the ones you have provided) being https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/. Is that right? Does that cover your points #1 and #2?

      I’m not sure about point 3 – are you suggesting that we add the categories that we already use to the thumbnails?

      It would also be very helpful if you could clarify point 4 – do you have specific suggestions about structuring/curating content? Is the grouping of blog-posts on a particular topic as done further down the home page on https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/ the sort of thing you have in mind?

  3. I really enjoy this blog, as well! I think some of the posts would benefit from more graphics… not images just for the sake of having images, but images that are helpful in conveying complicated ideas.
    I also think that improving the search functionality and/or providing links to related blogs and related tools on the i2S website would be very useful, as long as it is not too overwhelming.
    One other thing that I currently appreciate are the images of the authors. I am very visual and it helps me to put a face with a name so I can start understanding who works with who, who’s writing on certain topics, and whose face to look for at a conference. It is especially helpful when the head shots are high-quality images (not blurry or grainy) and relatively up to date. Thanks!

  4. I really enjoy this blog. Length of contributions is about right, and finishing with questions for readers is smart (though I’m not sure how many responses readers lodge – perhaps receipt of responses/comments should be the default and you can opt out if you don’t want them?).

    Including practical examples, even if only via a weblink, would help to ground the theory being discussed.

    The idea of a toolkit repository is also great, especially if it can be easily searched

    Marvellous work, thanks for the inspiration

    • Thanks Andrew. I think the limitations of WordPress are that you can only opt in to comments – but we’ll check. Thanks for the idea about practical examples to ground discussion of theory.

  5. Happy to see you continue as per previously… I have never found ‘tags’ useful as they are unduly reductionist… I always prefer the ‘locate’ what I read with a one sentence ‘approach’ description and a one sentence ‘landscape in which the writer is located’ description… That gives me a better appreciation of the potential ‘reach’ and ‘potential’ of what is described in the particular article… But that’s just me… Other than that, please keep on going … we do absolutely need your work given the devastation having inflicted on research and evaluation and not just in this country! Jacques

    • Thanks Jacques. Can you say more about “I always prefer the ‘locate’ what I read with a one sentence ‘approach’ description and a one sentence ‘landscape in which the writer is located’ description… “. I cant quite imagine what this would look like – can you perhaps give an example?

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