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Coursera

Writing and Disseminating Grey Literature

Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) via Coursera

Overview

If you are a researcher, academic, student, development sector professional or a practitioner who is keen to reach the research-based knowledge you have created to a wider audience, this course is for you.

Vast amounts of knowledge are produced by educational and research institutions through rigorous research and fieldwork. Yet, there is a dearth of access to this knowledge among non-academic communities (which includes practitioners, policymakers, and citizens) due to the language used. Researchers can bring visibility to grey literature if they engage with alternate public writing forms.

Newer platforms for knowledge dissemination across digital, print, and multimedia channels have made information from grey literature more available and accessible to lay readers. Using formats such as data stories, photo narratives, opinion pieces and infographics, these platforms can help researchers reach a much wider audience when they adopt newer writing techniques.

This course will:
* Provide an overview of data stories, photo narratives, opinion pieces and infographics produced from grey literature
* Teach methods to craft such pieces
* Explain how to pitch to media outlets
* Teach how social media can be leveraged to draw greater visibility to publications

Syllabus

  • Welcome to the Course
    • Welcome to our course on writing and disseminating grey literature! Over the course of six modules (six weeks), we will look at how you can draw from your research and practice work to craft public-facing pieces such as op-eds, data stories, photo narratives and infographics. We will also explore how to pitch to media outlets and use social media to disseminate your work. This introductory module serves as an orientation to what you can expect from this course and how you can best approach it. Take a few moments to meet the course instructors, your peers and introduce yourself.
  • The Basics: Overview of Grey Literature and Public Pieces
    • This first module will give you an overview of what constitutes grey literature and introduce the different types of public pieces you could produce from your research. We will then take you through how you could go about structuring and outlining your arguments before you craft a public piece, and what you need to keep in mind when you pitch your work to a publication.
  • Express Yourself: Crafting an Opinion Piece (Op-ed)
    • This module will focus on writing opinion pieces or op-eds - one type of public writing we had introduced in Week 1. We will first explain what an op-ed is and how it is a useful way for researchers to communicate their work to a larger audience. We will then, in detail, cover how you can structure an op-ed and pitch it successfully, and how it varies from a piece of grey literature you may be more used to writing.
  • Numbers are Awesome: Using Data to Tell a Story
    • This module delves into another popular form of public writing - data stories. Learn about what data stories are and how to build compelling narratives, choose relevant information and adapt your writing to suit this style. This module ends with an overview on how to create infographics to present data from your research.
  • Put Your Phone Camera to Work: Telling a Photo Narrative
    • This module will guide you to use the visual medium of a photo narrative to tell stories. You will learn how to identify when it's suitable to opt for this style of public writing, how to plan a narrative using photographs and how to use a smartphone to click photos while you’re out on the field.
  • Using Social Media to Drive Readership
    • This module will build on the lessons covered in the previous ones. You will learn about social media and how you can use it effectively to widen the reach of your publications, find potential collaborators and connect with others working in areas of research related to yours. We will focus on Twitter and Instagram and how you can adapt your writing to suit these two platforms.
  • Editing Your Own Work
    • The previous modules looked at how to outline, structure and build different types of public writing from scratch. To end this course, we will take you through the different stages of editing. You will learn why it’s important for you to edit your own work and how you can go about it in an organised step-by-step manner.
  • Course Conclusion
    • Well done on completing all the modules in this course - we hope you had an enriching learning journey!

Taught by

Shobita Rao

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