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Research Profile

Dr Robert Evans 


  • Current projects

    Studies of Expertise and Experience (SEE)

    This work builds on the typology of expertise set out in the ‘Third Wave of Science Studies’ paper and developed more fully in Rethinking Expertise (both co-authored with Professor Harry Collins). The approach grows out of our work in Science and Technology Studies (STS), particularly the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge (SSK). The core idea is that expertise is the property of social groups and is developed by participation in those groups. This leads to an understanding of expertise that recognises it social foundations without allowing everyone to be an expert about everything.

    The SEE approach has led to a number of case studies exploring how different types of expertise are used and combined in scientific and other settings. It is also possible to use the same ideas in a more prescriptive way and develop recommendations for the ways in which scientific and other expert advice should be used in the public domain. This work is part of on-going project to set out the political implications of the Third Wave.

    Further details of this work can be found on my expertise page, the ALL @ SEE website, or the Expertise Network blog

    The Imitation Game.

    Originally conceived as a proof-of-concept test for the idea of interactional expertise, the Imitation Game is now the focus of a €2.26M Advanced Research grant (269463 IMGAME) from the European Research Council awarded to Professor Harry Collins.

    The aim of the ERC grant is to develop the Imitation Game as a new method for comparative and longitudinal social research. The novel features of the method are that it combines quantitative measures with the collection of qualitative data and enables participants to act as ‘proxy-researchers’. This means that it should be less confounded by issue of social change and local context than more traditional methods such as social surveys.

    The grant runs from 2011 to 2016 and the list of cooperating Universities now includes University of Palermo, University of Granada, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities – Faculty in Wroclaw, Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest, Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Helsinki University, NTNU in Trondheim, and the University of Cape Town.

    Further details of this work can be found on my Imitation Game page, the ‘Expertise Network’ blog (where you can also download the Masquerade app, which is based on the Imitation Game) and the ALL @ SEE website

    Previous projects

    Previous projects, many of which continue to inform my current work, include:

    • the ‘Talking Treatments’ project, which explored deliberative methods and public participation as part of QUALITI, the Cardiff node of the ESRC National Centre for Research Methods)
    • the emerging politics of genetics, funded during Phase 1 on the ESRC Centre for the Economic and Social Aspects of Gemonics (cesagen)
    • the nature of interdisciplinarity, particularly in the context of research into sustainability, .

    economic modelling, forecasting and the public (non)debate about the single european currency;