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Research and the BVA

Report by Sue Anderson


Three strands of thought about Voice Research have been occupying the Education Working Party and the BVA Council since the very stimulating day, 'Exploring Voices'. Although the strands have been discussed as separate issues, it seems to me that they are closely related, and also that they are fully accord with the underlying ethos of the BVA.

The first strand was provided by the excellent presentation from Paul Carding on 22nd February, in which he drew our attention to the lack of published research material coming from the UK, despite the existence of more than 100 voice clinics, and more than 50,000 new voice patients each year. He talked about the interface between research and practice, and thought that the separation of clinical and academic activities in the UK into separate institutions was partly to blame. He then presented us with a challenge to engage in research, and particularly to 'research things that matter', and that may actually change practice.

The second strand is the enormous interest shown on the feedback forms in the concept of a Journal Club. The true multi-disciplinary nature of the BVA was revealed in the Journal Club session at 'Exploring Voices' led by John Rubin; here the ever-present need to communicate clearly despite the use of specialist language was amply demonstrated! We obviously still need to work hard at finding ways to bridge the arts/science divide! The third strand is the BVA's relationship with the journal LPV, edited by David Howard and Lesley Mathieson, an Indexed academic journal, which is crucially important for the intellectual status of the BVA, but to which few members contribute.

So we have a situation with little voice research being published in the UK, evidence of great interest in removing barriers between clinical, artistic and academic perspectives, and a journal in which voice research can be published in either full research or 'forum' modes. It seems clear that there is a need for some additional form of BVA activity to 'promote and encourage research', a quotation from the first point in the memorandum of the Association!

Although we may perceive a need, our first question has to be 'what is wanted by the membership of the BVA?' This short article is really a call to the membership for ideas and suggestions about the way forward. Our initial thoughts are about locally organised informal Journal Clubs, but it is of course possible that a wider category of meetings, such as 'Research Discussion Groups', might be more appropriate for our membership, to include Journal Club style meetings, seminars, panel discussion etc.



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