For anyone out there working in research, you know that much of our time is spent combing the various database search engines for past examples of studies addressing our topic of investigation. Why do we do this? Two reasons. Firstly, we must couch our own work in a historical context and recognize those that have shaped our field of study. Secondly, previous work provides a springboard for future research as well as a reflective space. I’ll admit, I guess I just gave four reasons, rather than two, but who’s counting! One of the primary aims of this blog, and it’s various sections, are to recognize the power of reflection for our own work as practitioners in our fields. Whereas this blog is focused on “helping professions” in terms of humanitarian work, first-responders, emergency management and disaster risk reduction, many of the lessons can be applied to other fields.
The blog will be loosely arranged with four categories (to start), but I admit there will be significant overlap. Readers can
1. Teaching Notes
Firstly, I aim to use the blog site as a repository for short explanatory writings concerning topics or concepts I use in my classes in conflict resolution, peacebuilding, emergency management, crisis response, and criminal justice. Often, I use concepts that apply to several of my classes and find that I can’t always remember how I explained it that one time that worked just AWESOME. Therefore, I wanted to have a place I could save those short, infrequent spurts of genius so that my students have a reference source that I will continue to update.
2. Academic-Practitioner Bridging Posts
Secondly, I hope to use this bandwidth to serve as a link strengthening ties between practice in emergency management and humanitarian assistance and academic research. Admittedly, the gap between the two is sometimes over-emphasized (as there are many of us who adopt the moniker of “prac-ademic”), there are very real barriers to the flow of information. Not the least of which are the exorbitant costs associated with access to academic articles for those without academic affiliation with a library. Shameful, really. Additionally, we all recognize time is precious, and the stack of journal articles I have on my desk (and saved as PDFs) is testament to the challenges we all face in balancing our day-to-day activities with continuing education and professional development.
This section will present short summaries of academic articles that I, as well as contributors, view as relevant to developing best practices. I will be contributing, along with students at Stockton University. Others are also welcome to contribute and instructions to do so will be forthcoming. Another benefit of this section is that readers will be able to rate their experience with the site and provide an assessment of the blog posts. Raters will be entered for monthly drawings of small thank-you gifts and the results of the assessments will be used to improve our outreach attempts. Yay for feedback loops (can you tell I am a monitoring and evaluation nerd? Proud of it!)!
3. News Postings
The third section will be a repository for news links that I find relevant for students or practitioners. Some will be posted with comment, others not. Posting of news articles from different sources do not necessarily imply support for opinions expressed in the articles, nor of the news sources, themselves. Instead, the news postings are intended to be illustrative examples of concepts facing students, researchers, and practitioners in emergency management, disaster risk reduction, and humanitarian assistance.
Thank you again for visiting the site. It will be evolving with emerging needs and I hope that you find the information helpful/interesting/relevant/exciting…
4. Professional Development and Published Works
The fourth section, admittedly, is a selfish one – the section will be geared more toward highlighting work I have been part of as a primary researcher or investigator. I will also be posting book reviews, published commentaries, and/or linking blog posts from other sites that I have authored. Finally, I will post my own reflections on different events and/or issues.