I have recently joined the network so forgive me if I am not using the technology appropriately - or I am posting this is in the wrong place.

I am an educational researcher who is being funded by SETsquared - the enterprise collaboration of the universities of Bath, Bristol, Exeter, Southampton and Surrey - to discover whether my research has commercial viability. I am to engage in 100 meaningful conversations to find out just how useful it is and for whom. I have joined this network because I know very little about business but I think my research might be of value and I would like to find out if it does. 

Ostensibly the research was designed to help students in Sixth form History lessons write better essays by helping them improve their written argument.  Most 6th formers aren't aware that that is a crucial element of their written response, particularly within the History discipline. To do this I devised a classroom intervention - a seven stage process which helped the students understand and begin to engage in different forms of argument. The process although structured involves collaborative, interactive activities as well as opportunities for reflection and considered judgement.  The argument generated is within a safe environment and focuses on the difference in ideas and is not an opportunity for personal attack - in fact I encourage the students to argue to explore not argue to win. In this way the arguing they engage in is more readily translated into their written work and their essays do improve. Students regularly say they understand the subject matter better after they have engaged in the verbal argumentation.

I think my research could be useful in several areas - in training and development, decision making and perhaps conflict resolution. I would suggest that anyone in a business that needs to write a report might find elements of what I offer very useful. I suspect that the soft skills that are encouraged when engaging in the seven stage process might also be useful particularly in the decision making process that businesses must engage in daily. And arguing to explore rather than arguing to win might be a way of preventing internal dissension. 

What I would like to do is talk with people who might be involved in these areas of business to help me find out whether I am right in suggesting the research might be useful and to find out who might use it how and why.

I would be really grateful for any help you could offer

Thank you


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Hi, Dani

As said in my e-mail, I'd be delighted to speak to you about your interesting research project on enhancing written argumentation.  I see that, amongst other institutions, you're affiliated to the University of Southampton, where I'm based.  So we could get together over a cup of coffee whenever you're next in town.

Meantime, you might be interesting to read this short article about 'critical friendship', which is an approach we encourage especially for apprehensive or unconfident contributors to AMED's journal e-Organisations and People.  Do let me know if you think that it might have a bearing on your research.

Please feel free to get in touch by e-mail via bob@amed.org.uk if you'd like to have an initial conversation.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes.  Bob


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