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A groundbreaking LSE research project, Reading the Riots, which aimed to understand the roots of and responses to the 2011 riots, has won the Innovation of the Year award at the Press Gazette’s British Journalism Awards 2012.

The project was also shortlisted for a Times Higher Education (THE) ‘Research Project of the Year’ award for 2012.

Tim NewburnReading the Riots, a joint project led by Professor Tim Newburn (pictured) at LSE and Paul Lewis of The Guardian, sought to show how large-scale, rigorous social research could be launched, undertaken and reported in a timescale that would parallel the fast-moving political and public debates about the disturbances.

The project was announced in September 2011, one month after the outbreak of trouble in Tottenham, north London, and aimed to better understand why riots then spread to other parts of the capital and cities across England.

Judges for the Press Gazette award commended the 'unique exercise' as a 'massive piece of work and beautifully presented'.

Professor Newburn said: ‘It is an honour to be associated with Reading the Riots and The Guardian deserves great credit for their extraordinary work on this study. This particularly award is especially pleasing as all of us involved feel that this innovative project illustrates the potential for research partnerships between universities and news organisations in conducting policy-relevant social research.’

The Reading the Riots study, funded by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the Open Society Foundations, is the largest research study of the 2011 disorder. The study was conducted in two phases. The results were published in two stages: initially over six days in The Guardian in December 2011 and a second stage over three days in early July 2012. Both phases were accompanied by a Newsnight special, and in July 2012 the BBC also broadcast a verbatim drama drawing on the study. In total the project ran for 10 months, with the researchers interviewing approximately 600 people.


5 December 2012