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Research Briefings Guidelines

N.B. TLRP generic project work ended in September 2009. The below information is for reference only.

A guideline for TLRP's Research Briefings

Research Briefings are intended to communicate key findings from projects, together with their associated implications for policy and practice. The text should be clear, concise and convincing.

Research Briefings will be numbered and dated to form a Programme Series. They will be distributed very widely and will, for instance, be placed in the House of Commons library. Networks and projects may wish to have more than one Research Briefing.

The Programme has a Research Briefing design which all projects are requested to use.

The TLRP office will maintain and supply (normally, subject to volume, at no charge) a colour-printed base-stock of Research Briefings. These will then be over-printed in black with the specific text supplied by each project (and with the cost of overprinting normally to be charged to each project).

Normally, prior to printing, texts for Research Briefings should be agreed with an appropriate member of the Directors' Team and, if appropriate, TLRP's Media Fellow or adviser from ESRC's External Relations team.

The Research Briefing design template ('dummy layout') is available at

The text

As our designers take care of the formatting as indicated in the dummy layout, you don't need to add any yourselves (justification, italics, bold etc.), and they will also put the text into the correct font and size, therefore you are encouraged to supply plain text in Arial 12pt throughout.

Graphics such as Powerpoint slides, Excel graphs, Word drawings or screen captures should be supplied in separate files, and an indication of their intended position should be included in the text.

In drafting the text, colleagues should please note that the template requires the following elements.

Page 1

Title: subtitle of briefing (maximum 10 words)
This needs to arrest the initial attention of a busy reader.

Introductory statement (maximum 80 words)
A simple, clear, explanatory and contextualising statement - drawing the reader in a little further.

Key findings from the project (maximum 20 words each)
Three or four only, which are matched to 'major implications'. Reflecting TLRP's major theme, please include references to learning outcomes.

Major implications (maximum 25 words each)
Three or four only, which are matched to each 'key finding'.

Page 2/3

The research (maximum about 1500 words, over four columns)

Your more detailed explanatory text on the substance of the research . Simple structure with one level of sub-heading. From maximum of 1500 words, allow for diagrams or black/white photograph as required.

Major implications (maximum about 720 words over two columns)

Your more detailed explanatory text about the major implications of the key findings. From maximum of 720 words, allow for diagrams or black/white photograph as required.

Page 4

Further information (maximum 200 words)
Your advice to diverse readers on how they can find out more about the project and its outcomes. Please consider different levels of user. For example, practitioner, journalist, policy-maker, academic. TLRP's publishing partnerships with BEI, RoutledgeFalmer and Taylor &Francis may be of use here.

The warrant (maximum 250 words)
Key reasons why readers should have confidence in your conclusions. You may wish to consider a repertoire of possible sources of warrant. These might include: project design and empirical robustness; conceptual and theoretical coherence; user engagement and validation; careful (or systematic) review of cumulative and comparative evidence; peer review. Key features of the project design, including samples and data gathered, should always be included.

Project website
(Note: when project funding ends, TLRP will normally host a site if requested, but this may have implications for the website address. If in doubt, please direct people to your project page on the TLRP website).

Project team
Forename surname, forename surname, forename surname, forename surname and forename surname

Project contact
A single person willing to speak (probably the project's Principal Applicant), title, forename surname, email, telephone with international code, full address with postcode.

Organisation of overprinting
It is anticipated that overprinting will normally be arranged through the TLRP office using a TLRP-approved designer and printer. Whenever possible, proofs will be provided for approval by a project team nominee. It is hoped to use digital printing technology, so that production of future short runs will be reasonably economic.

Exceptionally, projects may wish to organise overprinting themselves, in which case the design guidelines embedded in the template (as posted on the web) must be followed.

It is helpful to distinguish between 'database distribution' and 'project distribution'

1. Database distribution
This is the recommended means of large scale distribution. It will be managed through the TLRP office using the TLRP database.

The TLRP database has been created to enable efficient, targeted mailings in relation to specific research and user interests. It has the potential to be the most sophisticated vehicle for disseminating educational research findings in the UK, and is significantly enhanced when projects take seriously the task of providing or registering user information.

Routinely, the TLRP office will organise distribution of Research Bulletins to large-scale but carefully targeted sub-sets from the database, and will pay for postage of such distributions.

2. Project distribution
It is recognised that projects will need copies of the Research Briefings for distribution at user events or for specialist discussions with policy makers, etc.

Specific project needs should be requested before printing commences, although reprints should be possible.

If distributions to specific, interested contacts are being made, it probably means that their names and details should be on the main TLRP database. Cooperation in building the database continues to be greatly valued.

Andrew Pollard, June 2003 (updated Feb 2004)

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