|Deciding on a research topic to communicate for uptake is a daunting task|
|Wednesday, 15 April 2015 14:12|
An important part of any university Research Uptake strategy is choosing which research to feature. To maximise the chances for uptake to be successful the topic covered by the research needs to be relevant to broader societal needs. Johannes Selepe from the University of Limpopo gives us a glimpse into how they selects topics as outlined in their UL2020 Research Strategy document, and the key dissemination outlets they publish in.
One of the most difficult steps in beginning a research paper can be choosing a topic. Being a researcher involves a daunting task of coming up with brilliant ideas that seek to adjust, regulate and repair various societal ills. However, the University of Limpopo (UL) uses its research strategic plan to guide researchers on the selection of relevant and viable research topics.
Selecting Research Topics that Reflect National Priorities
According to Prof Jesika Singh, Acting Director of the Research Development and Administration Department, the University has developed a strategic plan that reflects both the provincial key priority areas and is also aligned with the country’s National Development Plan (NDP).
“UL2020 is the University’s Strategic Plan which covers a seven-year period”. There are a number of national priorities which apply, to a greater or lesser extent, to the regions mainly served by the University, including: Improving the extent and quality of health services; providing improved educational services and opportunities; rural development; improved food security and land reform; creation of jobs and sustainable livelihoods; and improved security.
Singh emphasised that all the new research proposals have to be in line with the strategic plan to ensure that the challenges which are troubling South Africa, the region and the African continent as a whole are eradicated. “Researchers, when selecting the audience for a specific research project should ask themselves the following questions: Is the research dealing with a single discipline or is it multidisciplinary? Will the target audience be able to read and understand the contents of the research project? In this way one would not be involved in research which doesn’t serve its intended purpose,” she explains.
Communicating Relevant Research
Research findings are thereafter communicated in discipline-specific publications of the University, such as faculty journals. Singh emphasised that “if it is cutting-edge research, we use the platforms which are most widely accessed and read. If the research has brought honour to the University, then the platform should be our leading publications: the home page of our website or a popular newspaper that publishes research such as the South African Mail & Guardian supplements amongst others.”
Johannes Selepe is the Acting Senior Publications Practitioner: Marketing and Communication