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Outputs Portfolio

 
Routledge Books
 

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

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TLRP Gateway Books: the Improving Learning series

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A Programme series, Improving Learning , has been established, and will be published by Routledge.

There are two major aims for the series.

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First, each volume should act as an overview for the reporting network or project as a whole, and as a ‘ gateway’ to its more detailed and sophisticated academic outputs.

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Second, each volume should show how the work of the reporting network or project satisfies the challenge of Pasteur’s Quadrant by simultaneously demonstrating:

•  high relevance to practice and/or policy

•  high quality science.

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It is anticipated that almost all networks and projects will contribute to the Improving Learning series, with CDAs and RTFs doing so where appropriate. Contributions to the series will be explicitly validated through TLRP and ESRC’s ‘Final Report’ requirements.

In terms of the RAE, these books are seen as strong potential submissions, with excellent ‘underlying research’ demonstrating high levels of user engagement and impact. The Improving Learning series is explicitly intended to set an innovative new standard for the dissemination of educational research.

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A presentational framework has been agreed for the series, which all books are expected to follow. This is intended to ensure a level of cohesion across the books and provide a trustworthy and recognisable house style to the whole collection. Major elements of this framework are described below.

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Cover design

By agreement with Routledge, this will incorporate TLRP designs. It is intended that the background design will represent learners at appropriate stages of the lifecourse.

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Titles: ‘Improving …..’

To reinforce series coherence, it is expected that all books in the series will start with the word: ‘Improving …….’. Sub-titles may be used to supplement this.

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Authorship

Routledge are sympathetic to full team acknowledgement, but advise that having known names in prominent positions helps sales measurably and thus contributes to impact. The front cover design will therefore provide a significant space to acknowledge team members. Teams may use this space by adopting either an ‘and’/‘with’ strategy or by listing the director (or ANOther) first with others following, perhaps alphabetically. Book spines are likely to feature one name only (eg: Bloggs et al). Corporate team identity may be further asserted on the back-cover description.

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Where specific chapters have particular authors, the names of these will be indicated discretely on the first page of the chapter so that attribution is absolutely clear for RAE purposes. However, the books will not be presented as an edited collection and it is important that they have a coherent overall style.

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Of course, each team must make a judgement on authorship for all their outputs, reflecting actual contributions to the work as a whole. Hopefully, there will be enough publications to affirm many contributions. In the end, teams are going to have to decide.

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Length of each book

A maximum of no more than 75,000 words has been agreed with Routledge.

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Primary reader audience for the series

Intelligent, interested users. This is taken to include practitioners, policy-makers and students as well as more academic audiences. The books are also likely to be popular with researchers or academics wanting to get an overview of the work undertaken, before accessing more detailed academic or technical publications. There has been considerable discussion with Routledge about this, with recognition of the challenge of reaching across these audiences.

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Writing style

It is hoped that these books will be written in an accessible way, which intelligent, interested but non-academic readers can understand. Structure, signposts, technical vocabulary, sentence length, etc, will all need to be considered and the expectations below reflect this. It is recognised that this form of writing requires a very high level of skill combining excellent understanding of research, appreciation of user needs and command of language.

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A four part structure for each volume

At its highest level, the framework will present four basic questions as parts of the book. These have been constructed to offer a recognisable shell, within which there will be a lot of flexibility – particularly within Part 2. The overall structure will be:

Improving Learning

Title page

Series preface

Contents page

Acknowledgements

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Part 1: What is the issue?

(say between 5,000 and 15,000 words)

This might be a simple, introductory chapter – or, if appropriate, as a larger, first section of the book. A very short and simple account of the research aims and process would be included as part of this element, with cross-referencing to the appendix on methodology (see below). In RAE terms, this part of the book will set out the 'significance' and 'originality' of the work.

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Part 2: What does the research tell us?

(say between 30,000 and 45,000 words)

This is likely to be the major substantive part of the book. There may well be sub-parts within it depending on the nature of the network, project, issues or outcomes to be conveyed. ‘Key findings’ (as highlighted and promoted by briefing notes, press releases, etc) would probably be prominent. Judgements would need to be made about the degree of integration of reporting of research findings and explaining specific implications. This part will demonstrate the originialty of the research.

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Part 3: What are the overall implications?

(say between 5,000 and 15,000 words)

This is anticipated as a final, summarising chapter – or, if appropriate, as a larger, concluding section of the book. This part of the book will explicitly address the 'significance' of the research.

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Appendix: How was the research carried out?

(say up to 5000 words)

This will be a standard feature of all books, presented as an appendix covering aims, overarching design, time-scale, sample details, data-collection procedures, major features of analysis, key warrant arguments, etc. These details would provide sufficient information to enable readers and reviewers to assess the scientific basis of the work. In RAE terms, the appendix will unambiguously indicate the ‘quality of underlying research’ - 'rigour'. The nature of this part of the book may be identified through the use of a smaller font.

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Bibliography

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Text elements

Graphic and textual design features will be used to establish continuity across the series and to engage readers.

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In particular, the following elements will be expected:

- chapter introductions of a paragraph or so

- concluding chapter summaries of a paragraph or so

- appropriate participant quotations to be highlighted or boxed

- two or three key points per chapter to be textually highlighted

- ‘Harvard’ referencing using Routledge conventions

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You may also wish to include:

- case study description boxes

- any relevant illustrations

- sustainable website links

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The following will not be used:

- footnotes

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Please note that illustrations must be black & white only in line or photograph and be supplied in hardcopy or as JPEG digital files. Please limit photographs to 8 per book. For production reasons, the photographic resolution should be the highest possible. Pictures taken with a ‘black & white’ function give better results than those which are converted from colour.

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Please also note that if it is proposed to use photographs of children written permission from parents or guardians must be obtained and, in school contexts, the headteacher of the participating school must also give permission.

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Production scheduling

It is recognised that finalisation of Improving Learning books must normally follow the production of technical and academic papers for conferences, journals, BEI, etc, and possibly other technical and academic books too, so that to these works can be drawn on and signposts to them be provided. However, it is also imperative to make significant progress before grants end with the risk of research team dispersal.

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An indicative schedule is thus offered below as a guide, and the TLRP Office will work to this in terms of supporting progress:

At any time during the project: Technical, academic and applied texts, etc are produced for conferences, journals, BEI, etc.;
At any time during the project: Building blocks of material are accumulated for later possible integration into a final Improving Learning series book manuscript;
Nine months before end of funding: Outlines for Improving Learning series book are prepared and negotiated;
Six months before end of funding: Outline for project Improving Learning series books are agreed;
Three months after project funding ends: ESRC final report submitted;
Six months after project funding ends: Improving Learning series book manuscript submitted (initially to member of Directors' Team);
Seven months after project funding ends: Final submission to Routledge;
Thirteen months after project funding ends: Improving Learning series book published (subject to coordinated grouping with other books in the Improving Learning series).

Conclusion

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We have tried to create a framework which is unified enough to offer a clear and distinctive TLRP product, whilst also being flexible enough to allow the essential scope for creative interpretation by each research team.

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Andrew Pollard , October 2005

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