Conference paper

Communicating research: audiences, academics and research students

13 Apr 2010

Communicating research through writing is of crucial importance in contemporary research education, although the complex nature of the activity and the fact of multiple audiences are not typically elaborated in discourse about generic skills training. The primary audience for doctoral students and their supervisors is the academic and research community, engaged through journals, conferences and books. This engagement has been intensified by the increasing spread of the culture of publish or perish. Driven initially in the US by the system of tenure, the need to be both expert and efficient at communicating research in writing to academic audiences has been given a significant transatlantic boost by the UK’s Research Assessment Exercise (and its slightly mutated offspring, the Research Excellence Framework) in the years since 1992. Australia and New Zealand have also developed research assessment mechanisms that have given the same sort of impetus to academic publication and the associated skills. (These exercises are called respectively Excellence for Research in Australia [ERA] and the New Zealand Performance-Based Research Fund (PBRF). Other countries have also followed suit leading to considerable pressure upon doctoral students and early career researchers to publish their research findings.

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