Contribute

The R2A team writes about the key issues in development research uptake. You can help make R2A better by Recommending a resource or Contributing a blog post. We aim to highlight the best blogs and materials on research uptake from other sources, and particularly welcome original contributions from members of the research comms community – sharing your experiences will both help others to learn and further your own research and communications goals.

Recommend a resource

We welcome recommendations for good blog posts or resources that are already online. You can recommend your own materials, or just tell us about great things you’ve found. You can also tell us about news, job announcements, or relevant events. There are two ways to do this: (1) email us, or (2)bookmark it via Delicious. If you want to recommend that we add a resource that isn’t already online, please send us an email and tell us about it, attaching the resource if you can.

A ‘resource’ can be just about anything: a toolkit, video, podcast, blog, guidelines, presentation, report, database, book, journal article, e-discussion, tutorial – anything that will help us all to ensure that research is taken up more effectively.

If you want to tell R2A about something that you’ve produced yourself, consider writing a blog post about it (see next section[hotlink]) instead of just recommending it. It will be more accessible, promoted more effectively, and R2A users will be able to give you feedback in the comments.

1. Email us at info@commsconsult.org

Tell us a bit about yourself (name, where you work, what you do). Include a hyperlink to the blog post or resource, and ideally tell us what you like about it and how it was useful to you. If the resource isn’t online, attach it to your email and tell us where it comes from.

2. Bookmarking via Delicious

If you’ve found a good blog or resource online, you can recommend it directly via the social networking site Delicious. If you add the tag for: researchtoaction it will automatically appear in our Inbox and be considered for inclusion.

If you don’t already use Delicious you’ll have to sign up. Go to this page http://www.delicious.com/help and click on ‘Join’ in the top right-hand corner.

If you already use Delicious bookmarks:

  • include the tag for: researchtoaction (this will send it directly to us)
  •  Put the title of the document or blog in the ‘Title’ field
  • Use the description field to tell us why you recommend the post/resource
  • Consult our list of recommended tags and add any you think are appropriate
  • Add your own new tags if necessary

Contribute a blog post

Our blog is a great way to share your experiences, promote your work, direct traffic to your own site, and even ask for help and feedback from the research comms community. We aim to make contributing as easy and painless as possible. There’s no need to write a long essay; short, practical posts are most popular with readers. If you’d like to submit a post just email us your contribution at andrew@commsconsult.org. If you’d like to contribute regularly, once you become famililiar with contributing we will register you with the site so that you can post as and when you like.

Author guidelines

R2A is a community of people working in development research and research communications. Write in a style that you are most comfortable with, but we do encourage contributors to use a conversational tone and let their personality shine through! Even if you are writing on behalf of your organisation there’s no need to sacrifice professionalism to produce an engaging – or challenging – blog post. If English is not your first language don’t worry – we’ll review your contribution and check any changes with you before posting.

  1. Tell us if your post is linked to a launch or event – it’s no help to you if we add it to the site too late!
  2. Choose a good headline – you want to catch the reader’s eye and encourage them to click, but being clear about your content rather than gimmicky is the best way to do that. Try not to make it longer than 50 characters including spaces, and definitely not longer than 70.
  3. Speak directly to R2A readers, as if you are having a conversation – even if your research is deadly serious.
  4. Let readers know straight away what you are going to talk about. ‘I learned something new about targeting policymakers and this is how I did it.’; I found this great network of medical journalists in West Africa.’; ‘I need advice commissioning a photographer.’
  5. If you want to share a larger report, explain who will find the report useful, and summarise the key points, as well as linking to it.
  6. Keep it short. There are no extra points for long posts. Aim for 250-500 words, but if you’ve made your point in 100 words, just leave it there.
  7. Convey your enthusiasm. If you’ve discovered or learned something that really excites you, tell us!
  8. Tell us who you are, what you do, and where you do it. This might be your professional affiliation, or it might describe what you really do! ‘Mario Rodrigo is communications officer for the DFID-funded Halt Malaria project in Bolivia’ is fine, but ‘Jane Dengu is a doctor in Zambia who is passionate about using social media’ is just fine too.