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Research Isn’t Linear, So Why Are Reports?

We want to show that all of our research themes are connected.

This was perhaps the most exciting line in any think tank project brief I’d ever read (I don’t get out much). The REMINDER project (Role of European Mobility and its Impacts in Narratives, Debates and European Union Reforms) approached Soapbox to discuss building a toolkit that would help wrap up the fifty or so reports and briefs that the programme had generated across five major areas.

When it comes to intra-European Union (EU) migration, policy, media coverage, public attitudes, and actual migration statistics interact in complex and important ways. That means you can’t really understand, say, media coverage of EU migration without also understanding policy and public opinion or actual trends in migration.

The REMINDER team wanted to show those interactions.


For over a decade now, in think tank communications circles, I’ve had a reputation as That Guy Who Hates PDFs.

The truth is that I don’t really mind PDFs that much. I’m old enough to have spent a substantial portion of my graduate school stipend photocopying pages from books and journal articles. The PDF is orders of magnitude better than that.

I don’t dislike PDFs because of the format. I dislike them because of the way that they box in our thinking.

The PDF is inherently linear. Research generally isn’t.

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