Research Writer Interview With Madison
Social and Academic Researcher
Hello Madison! You describe yourself as a social and academic researcher, how does that differ from an ‘ordinary’ academic researcher?
It’s probably more of a personal description of my work and experience than an official title, but I suppose the basic distinction is that academic research is traditionally based in university type settings whereas community research is located within the wider business or community environment. As a result of their location the purpose and methodology also tend to be different; with the community and business environments seeking more practical and flexible approaches to answering immediate concerns affecting their work. An Academic researcher in the traditional sense is often associated with clinical and experimental settings, with a theory led approach rather than a community approach based on problem solving.
Are you implying that academic research is less practical than your own work?
Not at all, but I prefer the challenge of undertaking research in order to solve a problem or contribute to a practical and real solution. I feel a great sense of achievement at being able to see the work being applied and working within a real context. Sometimes this can be difficult to see in an academic setting where the work may be contributing to a greater body of knowledge, but the practical application of the work may not yet be apparent.
So how did you get into community research in the first place?
After I left college I worked in international development for several years in West Africa and Central Asia. It was during this time that I started my PhD, which was based on one of the projects I was involved in. Having finally completed my degree I moved to Ireland and continued working in community development and policy work. However I noticed that there was often a large gap between policy and/or academic thinking and the actual community practice on the ground. Since I continued my career I have tried to work on community policy issues but approaching them from a community practitioner position. It is this merger of academic thinking with community experience that I feel has really begun to better inform both the policy and practice elements of this type of work.
hat particular issues do you feel this approach works for and that you are personally interested in?
I feel the approach works for most issues, but I am particularly interested in social inclusion issues including human rights, gender and equality, policing and crime, health, education and social sciences generally.
I noticed that your PhD was in Education but I understand you are now studying for a Masters in Psychology, how did that change in career occur?
It was less of a change and more of a progression really. I had worked in education settings including schools, adult education and community based training settings for most of my career. At the same time my interest in socially disadvantaged groups led me into educational projects involving the partnership of police and community groups. From there the progression went towards community based policing and academic research. I am now studying for an MSc in Forensic and Investigative Psychology because I enjoy both the writing and the exploration side of the work.
So finally how do you envisage having a role within CustomPapers will be mutually beneficial to both your own work and to the organisation?
I believe that my creative approach to writing and problem solving along with a strong academic background and social science practice, will be skills that can be adapted and used in a variety of settings. For myself I hope to be able to expand my writing interests and to be able to give more time to the pursuit of something that I have loved doing ever since I was a child.
Random writer: /writer-michelle