RESEARCH VOLUNTEERS SUMMER 2020
“A rare chance for you to help yourself whilst helping others”
WHY VOLUNTEER IN RESEARCH?
The market of insight and evidence was estimated to be a £4.8 billion industry in the UK alone (2012). It encompasses data analytics, market or social research and insight generation. Job opportunities exist in both public and private sectors as organisations of different sizes increasingly realise the value of using evidence to make sound business decisions and develop policy.
Today many entry-level positions already exist in the fields of customer insight, behavioural insight, user research and social research. Many marketers, strategists and product developers also started their careers in research. This is why experience in this sector is also a good foundation for other career paths.
Insight for Good has a range of contacts across the industry to point you in the right direction once you complete this volunteer programme and can offer guidance about different career paths to take. Indeed, many young people are unfamiliar with the benefits of a research career and there is a lack of supply in the sector.
THE PROJECT: BUILDING AN INSIGHT REPOSITORY TO INSPIRE SOCIAL CHANGE
We are looking for university students to be part of an online research project designed to discover new insights that will help solve some of the world’s greatest challenges.
The research topics relate to the worldwide known 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Both commercial and socially-focused organisations are increasingly aligning themselves to collaboratively meet these goals, as the paradigm for business and economic growth is changing to focus on sustainability, and even more now, accelerated by the current COVID-19 pandemic most likely caused by our own way of life.
Insight for Good is a social enterprise designed to support these organisations achieve their goals through better evidence and insight. We work with organisations such as social enterprises, charities, governments, universities and corporations with social responsibility agendas. We look to inspire them to drive social change through new insights, ways of thinking, and recommendations for change.
Thanks to the help of other volunteers, we have developed a portal of insights with content organised around the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These were originally developed by the United Nations and are now being used as the global framework for social and environmental change by businesses, governments, and the third sector around the world. To continue to grow this content this year, we need volunteers to conduct secondary research, identify innovative insights, and write articles to publish on our site. Specifically, we need content written by students of relevant degrees in these specific SDG areas:
Sustainability and the environment:
- Clean water and sanitation
- Affordable and clean energy
- Industry innovation and infrastructure
- Sustainable Cities and Communities
- Life on Land
- Life Below Water
- Climate Action
- No poverty
- Zero hunger
- Reduced Inequalities
Collaboration & Peace
- Peace, justice, strong institutes
- Partnerships for the goals
With our support, volunteers will write finished articles about the above topics and through their research learn more about how to drive social change in each particular area. The ultimate goal is to offer to the world an open platform, where students and experts can share well-informed insights from a mix of academic sources and credible research – with the added benefit that successful students will be able to use this to raise their profiles when looking for job opportunities. Beyond articles, alternative presentation formats such as video interviews or podcasts with experts will also be considered.
It’s important to recognise that the content needs to focus on evidence-based insights, not opinions. Insights must be able to resonate with our target audience, inspire, and make a true difference in order to solve social challenges. We will offer online training and regular communication in order to achieve this. See our publishing guidelines here.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
This online project has been designed to be interesting, fun, collaborative, and interactive. You will work from your own home from anywhere in the world and feel part of a community of students interested in the social good.
The project will start on Monday 7th of July, 2020, and will last 12 weeks.
The task consists of researching a particular topic, presenting findings to colleagues, and working with others to identify the key insights online. You can write as many articles as you can within the SDGs highlighted above. While there is flexibility, we have planned work in a structured manner so that it is effective and proper articles can be published, using tools that help us work collaboratively such as Slack, Trello or Google Drive.
While the project is collaborative, you will need to work individually and will be supported during the final editing process. We ask volunteers to work a minimum of 10 hours per week which can be worked flexibly. The longer you work, the more articles you can publish with us. Before publishing, articles will be reviewed by our editor who may ask you to make specific amends to ensure the articles meet our publishing guidelines.
You will be part of a team of up to 10 volunteers who will gather online weekly to shape up insights. Using a collaborative online tool, team members will share and comment on each others’ findings with a view to together identify, agree, and then present the best insights to be later reviewed regularly by Insight for Good.
While you will work individually to identify the key issues, evidence, and solutions for a particular topic each week, the real project is of collaborative nature. Throughout the week (daily when possible), you will share your findings and receive opinions and suggestions from team members (using commentary) in order to help the team identify the most inspiring insights.
“I think it is a very well structured project and the topics of research are very interesting and timely. Moreover, I have noticed with pleasure that particular attention is given to the collaborative nature of the project as I do believe that peer sharing is fundamental in research and above all in the social sciences field. Therefore, I confirm my interest in this project and I am willing to collaborate.”
“It looks great to me and should definitely attract people who are looking to make contacts and thinking about their career paths and gaining experience. It also shows that you are aware of the industry sector, explains the project in detail and provide a 2 hours training session so it definitely attracts me. I would definitely want to apply for it “
This is as an intellectually challenging project that will enhance your critical thinking and collaboration skills
As a team member, you will always be in touch with the project team. It will feel as a small community of researchers (university students) where you will share your findings to validate or challenge other team members’ findings using positive and constructive criticism.
In advance of the project, you will receive 2-hour online training with our research expert, Wilma Smythe (MBA, Social Psychologist and Founder of Insight for Good), who will offer guidance about the task and answer any questions to help the team meet the research objectives.
Throughout your research, you are welcome to obtain advice from experts in your subject area or interview them yourself. We can guide you and support you should you have the opportunity to interview an expert in one of the areas of study.
WHAT WE LOOK FOR
This is a great opportunity to have work experience in the space of social impact, while building your research, critical thinking, team building, leadership and moderation skills. You should have excellent writing skills, be highly curious, organised, and a great team worker.
While we are open to receiving applications from all disciplines, we would particularly like to receive a good number of applications from students of:
- Environmental Sciences (Chemistry, Engineering, Environmental Management, and Environmental Sciences)
- Social Sciences (Sociology, Politics, Psychology, Social Work and Anthropology, Education, Childhood and Youth, Human Resource Management)
- Economics (Finance, Global Development, Systems Thinking in Practice)
Prior research experience is desirable, but not necessary.
All candidates need to have an excellent command of the English language and love writing.
If interested, send us (firstname.lastname@example.org ) by 19th June, 2020:
- A cover letter highlighting why the position is of interest to you along with the top 2 SDG research themes that most appeal to you and why
- Your CV with 2 references, with email addresses.
If selected, candidates will be invited to an interview in which they will also need to present their arguments about their belief in the need to focus on the selected two SDG themes in a 10-minute online presentation.
- Interviews during the week commencing 22nd June
- References checked by 30th of June
- Offers made by 3r July
- Start date 7th of July
If this is not for you, but you know of anyone who may be interested in this project, please share this link! Thank you.