Research Project Advisers

Bude and District U3A October Meeting: AGM

The AGM of the Bude & District AGM was held at the Parkhouse Centre on Thursday 19 October, and was followed by a brief address by Peter Smith, one of the U3A’s Research Project Advisers.
A member of the Barnstaple branch, Peter’s role is a national one which used to be known as Research Ambassador. He was invited to talk to our members about his work encouraging and facilitating research within the organisation. He said that while some people were quite content to pursue a pastime or hobby in retirement for their own enjoyment, humans were by nature curious animals and many relished the challenge of research.
Peter gave examples of shared learning projects undertaken by some members, on the subjects of geology, stone formation, the search for a ninth planet in the solar system, even dowsing, and suggested that universities were keen to recruit researchers in all topics from all demographic areas. Any subject might prove inspiring, but he suggested that if anyone did not have a pressing interest in any particular subject, then they could participate in other people’s enquiries. The National Council for Osteopathic Research was currently engaged in complex collaborative research with the public and the U3A was proving a significant contributor.
It seems that the U3A would like to raise its profile as an authoritative voice on matters of concern. One way to do this would be for the stated aim of lifelong learning to be seen to be focused on more intellectual study. Peter went on to give some general advice on methodology, with the obvious suggestion that when embarking on a topic for research we should first establish what others had already discovered on that topic. He said that as Research Project Adviser he could suggest how to design study that would produce robust answers which could withstand argument; he also gave advice on devising the right questions to ask and, more broadly, the efficient use of time.
The members were left with much to think about, and the conviction that if ever we felt inspired to undertake or get involved with research in the future, help would be readily available.. and we knew where to find it.
As if to reassure that all retired people, whatever their cerebral ambitions, are welcome in the U3A, coffee was enjoyed in the foyer afterwards to the accompaniment of the ukulele band and their interpretation of, among others, I Wanna Be Like You from the Jungle Book, and Eydie Gorme’s Blame it on the Ukulele (formerly Bossa Nova).
If you are interested in finding out more about all the many ideas pursued within this varied and friendly branch of the U3A, take a look at the website www.budeu3a.co.uk. For any further information, please contact Ann Tizzard, our membership secretary, on 01409 253749.

Lindsey Sandilands