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Academic Insights for the Thinking World

  • Social Sciences


How to write a grant proposal

Whatever its scale or ambition, a grant proposal aims to do two things: to show that a particular project needs to be supported by a funder and to show why some individual, group or organization is the right one—the best one—to carry out the project. Showing the “need” is largely an exercise in argumentative writing. It’s argumentative not in the hostile, red-faced, fist-shaking sense but in the classical sense of establishing a claim

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Social Work

Solution building for student success

Teachers, administrators, and school social workers also prepare for a fresh start with new students and ideas to engage in another year of educational and developmental learning. Unfortunately, as the school year progresses, the new beginning and excitement can give way to complacency, frustration, and sometimes hopelessness. The reality for students who are disengaged from school, as well as those who experience significant academic and behavioral issues, is a season of uncertainty, diminished expectations, and possibly serious life outcomes that are just beginning.

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Brexit and Article 50 negotiations: why the smart money might be on no deal

David Cameron famously got precious little from his pre-referendum attempts to negotiate a special position for the UK in relation to existing EU treaty obligations. This was despite almost certainly having held many more cards back then than UK negotiators will do when Article 50 is eventually invoked. In particular, he was still able to threaten that he would lead the Out campaign if he did not get what he wanted, whereas now that the vote to leave has happened that argument has been entirely neutralised.

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The different faces of Taliban jihad in Pakistan

All simplistic hypothesis about “what drives terrorists” falter when there is suddenly in front of you human faces and complex life stories. The tragedy of contemporary policies designed to handle or rather crush movements who employ terrorist tactics, are prone to embrace a singular explanation of the terrorist motivation, disregarding the fact that people can be in the very same movement for various reasons.

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One concerned economist

A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail inviting me to sign a statement drafted by a group calling itself “Economists Concerned by Hillary Clinton’s Economic Agenda.” The statement, a vaguely worded five paragraph denunciation of Democratic policies (and proposed policies) is unremarkable — as are the authors, a collection of reliably conservative policy makers and commentators whose support for Donald Trump appear with some regularity in the media.

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Witches, werewolves, and Christmas

In Hamlet, Marcellus, referring to the royal ghost, says: “It faded on the crowing of the cock. Some say that ever gainst that season comes wherein our Saviour’s birth is celebrated, this bird of dawning singeth all night long, and then, they say, no spirit dare walk abroad, The nights are wholesome, then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, so hallowed and so gracious is that time.”

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How Americans found information before the Internet

How was information used before the age of Google? Cookbooks showed people how to make new dishes; instructions packed with disassembled toys carried the terror-filled message “some assembly required” and ensured hours of labor on Christmas Eve for millions of parents. Today, people “Google”, but this kind of information gathering has occurred since the seventeenth century.

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Counter-terrorism and mental health issues

Throughout the world, many people suffer from profound afflictions of mental illness. Of these, a plainly substantial number are inclined to various forms of violent behavior. And when opportunities arise to dignify their more-or-less irrepressible violent behaviors under the purifying rubric of some “higher cause” — e.g., revolution, rebellion, or jihad — some will gratefully seize upon those “exculpatory” opportunities.

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Churches and politics: why the Johnson Amendment should be modified and not repealed

Speaking before the Family Research Council, the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, called for a repeal of the “Johnson Amendment.” The Johnson Amendment is part of Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and prohibits tax-exempt organizations such as schools, hospitals, and churches from participating in political campaigns. The Republican Party’s 2016 platform echoes Mr. Trump.

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Barriers to sexual freedom in assisted living

The baby boom generation came of age at a time that pushed boundaries of sexual freedom. Changes in attitudes and behaviors about sexuality were framed by the sexual revolution, women’s rights, gay rights, and the birth control pill. Decades later, the first wave of this generation is now turning 65. While most boomers still have a decade or more before they consider moving into assisted living facilities, a study suggests that sexual freedom is difficult to come by for those who currently reside in a structured environment such as assisted living.

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Journal of Environmental Law, Volume 28,  Issue 2

Air quality law in the United Kingdom at a crossroads

UK air quality law now finds itself at a crossroads. Air quality law is a well-established area of environmental law, having been at the vanguard of much of it. It is a well-established area across multiple levels of governance, with local and national regulation in the UK operating against a backdrop of binding EU standards and an international law framework for transboundary air pollution

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Tightrope walking: The future of political science

Imagine standing at the edge of a precipice. A combination of forces are pushing at your back, biting at your heels and generally forcing you to step into an unknown space. A long thin tightrope without any apparent ending stretches out in front of you and appears to offer your only lifeline. Doing nothing and standing still is not an option. You lift up your left foot and gingerly step out….

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Human-animal chimeras and dehumanization

The US government recently announced that it was lifting its moratorium on funding certain experiments that use human stem cells to create animals that are partly human. At present scientists are only interested in creating entities with some human qualities, but which remain “mostly” animals. For example, some scientists want to create a chimeric pig with a human-enough heart to transplant into a human. Distinguishing between humans and other animals is common in most cultures.

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Into the unknown: professional development for future educators

One of the greatest challenges faced by schools and universities today is preparing students for an unknown future. Our graduates will likely have multiple careers, work in new and emerging industries, grapple with technologies we can’t even imagine yet. And so we’re asking our staff to equip students with the skills they need to thrive in a potentially very different world to the one we live in now.

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New York City’s housing crisis

New York City is the midst of a housing affordability crisis. Over the last decade, average rents have climbed 15% while the income of renters has increased only 2%. The city’s renaissance since the 1990’s has drawn thousands of new residents; today, the population of 8.5 million people is the highest it has ever been. But New Yorkers are finding that the benefits of city living are not without its costs. The demand for housing has outstripped the real estate community’s ability to supply it; as a result, prices have been rising.

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Profiling schoolmasters in early modern England

In 2015 the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography introduced an annual research bursary scheme for scholars in the humanities. As the first year of the scheme comes to a close, we ask the second of the 2015-16 recipients—the early modern historian, Dr Emily Hansen—about her research project, and how it’s developed through her association with the Oxford DNB.

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