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Study of Knowledge in Practice (SKiP)

The Centre for the Study of Knowledge in Practice has a distinctive research agenda grounded in the environment, science, knowledge, risk and the temporality of social life.

Cardiff University has long been a centre of excellence for substantive theory, qualitative methodology and science studies. The Centre for the Study of Knowledge in Practice (SKiP) builds on this international reputation for theoretical and methodological innovation through its distinctive research agenda grounded in the environment, science, knowledge, risk and the temporality of social life.

SKiP's work is predominantly agenda setting rather than agenda following and makes significant contributions to academic debates in the widest sense. Its members have made major contributions to social science theory and methods internationally but they also maintain close links with policy makers at local, national and European level.


SKiP's agenda is thus to establish links between theory and practice, contribute to policy debates, build networks that can promote trans-disciplinary knowledge exchange between theorists, researchers and practitioners and encourage excellence in its postgraduate students.


SKiP addresses the way that knowledge is produced, practiced and used in a variety of social and political contexts. The group's work is focused around the following key areas:

Knowledge and expertise

The study of knowledge and expertise forms a major focus of the group's empirical programme. It covers the social analysis of science, economics, education, medicine, media and technology and contributes to social science, public understanding of science and education policy debates.

Research projects in this area include studies of modern physics, artificial intelligence, economics, GM foods, nuclear power, genetic screening and counseling, and medical work and practice. SKiP members organise the University-wide inter-disciplinary Centre for the Study of Knowledge, Expertise and Science as well as maintaining strong links with Bath, Cornell and Harvard Universities.

Qualitative methodology and methods

Cardiff University is recognised around the world for its contribution to qualitative methodology and methods. The Sage 2001 Handbook of Ethnography (edited by Atkinson, Coffey, Delamont, Lofland and Lofland) and the Sage journal Qualitative Research are just two examples of this. Further information on these publications can be found on the Sage Publications website.

The work of this group is documented in SOCSI Working Paper No 20. Delamont, Coffey, Atkinson and Burgess (2001) An Open Exploratory Spirit.

Current research projects in this area include the development of new multimedia ethnographies that exploit the capabilities of the Internet and information technology in community-based studies of industrial heritage.

Governance and socio-environmental public policy

SKiP members adopt an inclusive perspective in their study of socio-environmental public policy and governance. They are actively engaged both theoretical and empirical work in a range of areas including sustainable development, social movements as well as food and transport policy in the UK, the European Union and more recently Eastern Europe.

Current research includes monitoring the implementation of the UNCED Biodiversity and Climate Change Conventions, whilst other projects have been instrumental in initiating the Global Soil Convention.

Time, technology and risk practices

Theories of time, technology and risk inform much of SKiP's research, and are central to several of its international collaborations. These projects continue build Cardiff's international reputation for innovative theoretical work in the areas of time and reflexive modernisation.

Current research projects are actively addressing the time dimensions of a range of areas including the environment, food and medicine.

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Research that matters

Our research makes a difference to people’s lives as we work across disciplines to tackle major challenges facing society, the economy and our environment.


Postgraduate research

Our research degrees give the opportunity to investigate a specific topic in depth among field-leading researchers.


Our research impact

Our research case studies highlight some of the areas where we deliver positive research impact.