Second BU professor earns international authorship award

December 18, 2020

A second Brandon University professor has been recognized with an international award by one of the world’s largest academic publishers.

Dr. Cindy Clarke

Dr. Cindy Clarke received an “Outstanding Author Contribution Award” from Emerald Publishing’s 2020 Literati Awards. The award, which was recently announced, recognizes her chapter exploring the use of poetry and narrative inquiry as a tool of research.

“Researchers collect information, experiences, and data from many different participants, and one of our challenges is in assembling all of those perspectives into one,” Dr. Clarke said. “Often, we researchers fall back on traditional academic language to describe and list what we’ve learned, but my chapter showed that we could successfully adapt techniques from poetry and storywriting.”

Clarke, who is an Assistant Professor in Curriculum and Pedagogy and in PENT in the BU Faculty of Education, said taking a different tack often paid important dividends in the research process.

“Poetry is really about focusing on the details. It is a tool we can use to disrupt expectations and to invite multiple interpretations of our research — to encourage thinking outside the box,” she said. “Adding a narrative or storytelling layer also helps readers personally engage with the research finding, making it easier to follow, to understand, and to share.”

The new approach came with new requirements, including deep involvement with research participants, who checked the poetic analysis.

“This is a new way of engaging directly with those people who are sharing their experiences with a researcher, and it helps break down the artificial barriers between us,” she said. “Often, they are telling me their stories in the form of a narrative already. Also, it clears up what can sometimes be an opaque and unfriendly process — I can share the evolution of my work, not just my conclusions.”

The chapter was published in Volume 33 of “Advances in Research on Teaching” in 2019.

“This is a marvellous achievement and we are very proud,” said Dr. Heather Duncan, BU’s Associate Vice-President (Research) and Dean of Education. “Dr. Clarke’s work speaks for itself — she has created pieces of art, as well as of research — and international recognition is fully deserved.”

Earlier, it was announced that Dr. Christopher J. Schneider, a BU Sociology professor, had also received an Outstanding Author Contribution Award from Emerald Literati.

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