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User Engagement and Collaboration: Challenges and Tools

Presenter 1
Sarah King-Hele
Centre for Census and Survey Research (CCSR), University of Manchester

We describe conventional approaches to user engagement and contrast this with other methods that are being explored by the MethodBox team at the University of Manchester. Approaches that ESDS Government uses to engage with users include formal dialogues through user meetings and consultations, presentations and other forms of broadcast. This has more recently included the use of social media. We have also attempted to encourage collaboration between users by sharing information about users where possible and encouraging users to meet physically and share expertise at events. MethodBox is a new tool designed by a team at Manchester under the auspices of the E Social Science Programme and the myGrid platform. ESDS Government has collaborated with this team in order to make the Health Survey for England available in a Virtual Research Environment. This tool provides scope for researchers to collaborate within an online environment, sharing ideas, syntax and data. Users are encouraged to share their syntax and workflow to allow reuse by other registered users. The designers have been mindful of the needs of policy users who may find traditional access methods daunting.

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