Yesterday  I had the opportunity to attend the Social Research Association’s annual conference held at the British Library.

I found all five of the plenary speakers fascinating, but for me the three afternoon speakers were the most thought provoking.  I learnt a lot about realist evaluation from Siobhan Campbell of the Department for Transport, things I had never realised from Tony McEnery from University of Lancaster-corpus linguistics is intriguing, and some fascinating insights into studying behaviour in the home kitchen from Peter Jackson of the University of Sheffield.

We also had the opportunity to attend and AM and a PM workshop. Given my interest and experience in working with vulnerable children, I selected a morning presentation on participatory research, including a very interesting piece of work on transitions from CAMHS at age 18-a particular interest of mine. For similar reasons, in the afternoon, I attended two talks on researching challenging topics. It was fascinating to hear about the research that BBC Media Action are doing with refugees in Syria and Lebanon. I was also delighted to make contact with Camille Warrington and Helen Beckett from the University of Bedfordshire, and hear about their work with children affected by sexual violence. Previously I had come across them through ethical review, so it was great to meet and speak with them in person.

In fact the whole conference was a superb networking opportunity and an event I value every year to keep me in touch with other social researchers and hear about the issues that challenge and stimulate them.

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