Your top 10 ESRC blogs from 2016

2016 has certainly been a busy, and memorable year for many different reasons!
As the year comes to an end, we reflect on what’s been and gone.
Here Simon Wesson, ESRC press officer, picks out our most read blogs to give you another chance to read them if you missed out.


Working in the communications team for the ESRC is a hugely varied role, mainly down to the vast array of topics that the social sciences represent.
This is no better represented than by looking at the variety of our blog content, which has covered everything from research on big data and biosocial, to economics and the environment.

As we come to the end of 2016, I was interested to see the most popular blogs that we’ve published from the year – measured by unique page views.

So here it is, your top ten most read pieces:

10. Mental health: is it associated with our genes or our early years surroundings – or both? 
by Professor Gordon Harold, University of Sussex. Views: 586.


This blog, part of our biosocial blog series, reveals more depth on the latest parenting research. A key finding was that parental rearing experiences affects children’s long-term mental health, development and future life chances.

9.The rejected experts 
by Matthew Flinders, Professor of Politics and Founding Director of the Sir Bernard Crick Centre for the Public Understanding of Politics at the University of Sheffield. Views: 672.


‘Why was the evidence of academic experts ignored in the run-up to the Brexit result? And what can academics do about it?’ asks Professor Flinders in this blog which originally appeared in our magazine Society Now.

8. Planning for impact: helping universities make the most of their research 
by Louise Shaxson, manager of the Evidence & Policy Group (EPG) of the DFID-ESRC Growth Research Programme. Views: 714.


‘Assuming impact remains important, should universities begin to prepare now?’ asks Louise, who suggests that providing explicit guidance on planning for impact can make a difference.

7. Transforming what we know about how babies learn 
by Dr Victoria Leong, an ESRC Transformative Research Grant holder, and Dr Sam Wass, an ESRC Future Research Leader.  Views: 742.


This biosocial blog  looks at research which takes a new perspective on understanding how babies learn from their parents.

6. Nature vs nurture: how the ‘social’ in biosocial studies has shifted the debate
by the ESRC’s Head of Longitudinal Studies, Rebecca Fairbairn. Views: 787


Another biosocial blog, here Rebecca helps to explain what biosocial actually means, and what the ESRC does to help support research in the field.

5.What is corpus linguistics and how does it contribute to society?
by Professor Tony McEnery, previously Director of the ESRC Centre for Corpus Approaches to Social Science (CASS), and now the ESRC’s Research Director. Views: 889.


In a piece  published in Society Now, Professor McEnery explains corpus linguistics and its contribution to society, how language is changing, and his aspirations in his new role. The blog actually went on to achieve national (and international) headlines with articles focussed on CASS’ research into women swearing.

4. ‘Big data’ in action: Linking 180 million tweets with 600,000 police records
by Professor Matthew Williams and Dr Pete Burnap, directors of the ESRC-funded Social Data Science Lab. Views: 951.


This blog  details the prestigious Data Science and Government Conference, and looks at the lab’s study which shows that tweets containing signatures of crime and disorder helped estimate patterns of recorded crime.

3. How to combine sociology with biology – and why do it?
by David Blane, professor emeritus of Imperial College London and professorial research associate of UCL. Views: 1,058

Rudolf Virchow

Here, in another (!) popular biosocial blog, Professor Blane gives his ‘how to’ on combining sociology and biology in research.

2. ESRC writing competition: How to write a winning entry
by science journalist Martin Ince.  Martin is President of the Association of British Science Writers and will be a judge of the ESRC writing competition 2016-17. Views: 1,157.


‘The days are long gone when the only people who had to like a thesis were the examiners who could approve or reject it. Academics now need to be able to talk about their research to broad audiences, and in a way that makes its importance and relevance clear to anyone.’ Read just how Martin thinks this can be achieved.

1. The latest developments in social science research methods
by Susan Cassell, ESRC Communications Manager. Views: 1,456.


What is the latest when it comes to social science research methods? Susan Cassell was on the case to find out when she visited her first Research  Methods Festival  – an inauguration into the fascinating, ground-breaking, albeit at times ‘anoraky’, world of research methods.

So, that’s it folks, 2016’s most popular blogs round-up into one piece. I hope you’ve enjoyed having a chance to read these again, or perhaps catch up on pieces that you might have missed.

We’re always looking for new blog content here at the ESRC, so if you have inspiration for a piece, please email with your rough ideas and we can help you craft your perfect article.

For now, best wishes for the festive season and a happy New Year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.