Frequently Asked Questions

What is CultureCase?

CultureCase is an experiment in research communication. It aims to bridge the gap between academic research and its potential users and beneficiaries, by ‘translating’ academic research into a form that is easily accessible by practitioners and advocates in the cultural sector. We have included research from scholars and universities from all over the world.

What is so useful about academic research?

Academic research is frequently a systematic process by which data is collated, analysed and interpreted to form new knowledge or insight. It is grounded in theory (frameworks for understanding the world and how data may reveal that world). It applies rigorous methods (which attempt to overcome the practical challenges associated with collecting or analysing data). It is cumulative, that is it generates knowledge based upon existing or proven theories, rather than re-inventing the wheel. Its outputs are peer-reviewed, which means they have been scrutinised and revised in order to increase their rigour and quality. It also aspires to strong ethical standards which protect research subjects from exploitation and minimise bias in the research findings.

Is CultureCase the definitive resource of all high-quality research in the cultural sector?

No. CultureCase claims neither to be comprehensive or definitive. We’ve selected research that we think is relevant to questions and challenges identified by the cultural sector. There is a range of directories, literature reviews, journals and other online resources that complement CultureCase (see Other resources for a selection).

What contribution does CultureCase make?

There is a suite of reliable evidence that could support the work of decision-makers and advocates in the cultural sector, but this research is often inaccessible to those that would most benefit from it. Existing abstracts of academic papers on the websites of journals, and literature reviews, do not go sufficiently far enough to put the research insights directly into the hands of potential beneficiaries in the cultural sector.

What’s different about CultureCase?

There are a range of online directories, tools and literature that aim to support the use of research in advocacy and decision-making: see Links. CultureCase adds value in two ways: by selecting and ordering research that responds to the needs, questions and challenges outlined to us by the cultural sector; and by generating accessible summaries of that research.

Who is the audience for CultureCase?

CultureCase is primarily aimed at decision-makers and advocates in the cultural sector, although we hope it will be useful to anyone with an interest in research and culture. This site has been constructed with the end-user in mind, through a process of consultation with practitioners, administrators and managers in the cultural sector. It is not just a resource for other researchers.

How did you decide on the themes for CultureCase?

We have consulted with a large number of individuals and organisations across the cultural sector to identify the themes (and questions within them) that would be interesting and useful to users of CultureCase.

How do you select research for inclusion in CultureCase?

In absolute terms, we only include research that is published in peer reviewed academic journals. This is for two reasons: it is a primary source of high-quality research that is frequently theoretically grounded and methodologically sophisticated – and hence has enormous potential value to decision-makers and advocates in the cultural sector; secondly, it tends not to feature in the advocacy material of the cultural sector and even less in the decision-making process of practitioners.

We use one main criterion to decide whether a journal article should be summarised for inclusion in CultureCase: relevance to the cultural sector questions, challenges and opportunities that have been put to us.

We have consulted with various people across the cultural sector and we held an energetic half-day stakeholder workshop to identify the themes (and questions within them) that would be interesting and useful to users of CultureCase. Those themes and detailed questions are available for download as a PDF: CultureCase Themes. Attendees to the workshop formed the basis for an expanded group of beta testers who have been giving us feedback prior to the launch of CultureCase.

How do you go about generating the research summaries?

Every article that has satisfied the entry requirements for CultureCase is read in detail and summarised to 300 words of prose. The style seeks to replicate the readability of a broadsheet newspaper. The summary describes the contents of the paper while highlighting the key useful findings (as identified by us, rather than the paper’s author[s]). It is a process of abstraction and translation. Direct quotations crop up very rarely in the summaries.

The paper is not subjected to a critical appraisal of its strengths and weaknesses but conveyed as authentically as possible through the summary. Where the original paper identifies shortcomings in the research these are relayed in CultureCase.

What is open access?

Open Access (OA) is a term for the unrestricted and free access to scholarly articles that might otherwise only be viewed or downloaded with a subscription or payment to a peer review journal. Many academics are able to make their papers OA through the journal with which they have published, while others choose to deposit a version of their paper in an institutional repository (or elsewhere) for free access and download.

A proportion of the papers summarised in CultureCase have OA versions available for download. In those cases we have linked to both the OA version and the original journal entry.

How can I get my research included?

Please contact us to discuss your suggestion(s) or use the CultureCase template form and we will review its suitability for inclusion.

How can I get my research summary changed or removed from CultureCase?

We have worked hard to ensure that the summaries on this site are authentic to the original research papers. If you think we have inadvertently misrepresented your work or object to its inclusion in CultureCase then please get in touch.