February 16, 2015, by Public Social Policy

Welcome to the ‘Policy @ Nottingham’ blog!

Today is our first outing onto the web as a group. We are a collection of social scientists in various guises: lecturers, professors, PhD students, research fellows of all ages and from across the globe. We are based in the International Centre for Public and Social Policy (IcPSP) in the School of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Nottingham, but on these pages we will speak with our own voices and to our own interests.

Amongst us are experts on a wide range of public and social policy issues and theories, and we will use this expertise as well as our personal opinions to inform our writing. The idea is to have open and frank discussions about what exercises us most in our daily activities, and things that catch our eye on the world’s policy stage.

There are two main types of blogs we will post here: those that are responsive to current news items, and therefore most up-to-date; and those that are more reflective over a longer period of time. With the world in turmoil in many aspects, and for us based in the UK the general elections taking place this May, there is plenty to talk about. For example, our expert on probation services might want to say something about the recent privatisation of those services in the UK. Our procurement and commissioning expert might come in on that discussion and draw on experience with privatisation of other services. Our experts on various elements of welfare provisions are likely to sharpen their pencils (or fire up their computers) as austerity measures keep biting into services around the world. Our interests are wide-ranging: education, policing, community services, health services – are all likely to be subject of one of our posts in the not-too-distant future.

The other type of blog you can expect from us, relates to longer-term issues of understanding policy and policy changes. These blogs focus on research methods, policy analysis theories, and wider ontological debates. The PhD students in our midst may discuss their experiences in collecting data, and how this affects their research. This can range from obstacles to reaching particular groups in society and feelings of anxiety when dealing with sensitive topics, to drawing inspiration from participants and unexpected turns in a project based on surprising findings. Discussions on whether and how data are collected or produced, and how the researchers and the researched relate to each other will undoubtedly feature on these pages. And of course none of this is the sole territory of the PhD students! Dyed-in-the-wool lecturers and professors will be challenged and challenging to explain the reasoning behind their approaches to producing knowledge and understanding.

For that is the ultimate aim of this blog: to contribute to pushing the boundaries of understanding and furthering insight into the world of public decision making that affects us all, whether on a local or a global scale. We therefore hope that you’ll enjoy our weekly postings, and will participate in the debates and discussions.

Best wishes, happy blogging

The P@N collective

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