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A Window onto the World of Social Science Research


Social science and the future of health care go hand-in-hand, but it's an underappreciated partnership.

We live in a moment when social science research is often misunderstood or even just absent from public-policy discussion (let alone conversation at most dinner tables). Although many people are engaged in investigating our world—backed by federal, foundation, or private funding—research results end up in peer-reviewed journals that are not widely circulated outside of professional research and academic circles.

It’s tragic that the innovative efforts social scientists make to study people are often more interesting and even heroic than many realize, and the empirical data scientists generate—although of course subject to error and not always conclusive—can directly inform our collective decision-making in ways that from-the-hip pontificating and speculation cannot.

Consider health care delivery, for example: understanding how people engage with information (and with each other) is crucial for health care innovation. Social science and the future of health care go hand-in-hand, yet it is an underappreciated partnership.

We bring together professional observers of everyday life in a setting more akin to a coffee shop than a conference.

To address this gap, RTI International and public radio station WNCU (based in Durham, NC) have developed The Measure of Everyday Life, a weekly show on social science that debuted in January 2015 and has appeared weekly on Sunday nights in the Raleigh-Durham market (and online worldwide) since then.

The Measure of Everyday Life bridges the gap between the dinner table and the library, corner bar and laboratory. Through weekly interviews and stories, we offer a window onto the world of social science research, summarizing it and spotlighting ideas for future study. We strive to make the study of human thought and behavior accessible to general audiences, illuminating everyday problems that deserve new investigations.

We bring together researchers, journalists, and other professional observers of everyday life to share their stories in a setting more akin to a coffee shop than a conference.

Relying on a public radio budget to translate social science research and theory into practical discussion, in-depth interviews with guests in the studio, and feature stories by a range of contributors has been challenging at times, but worth the effort. We’ve built a forum for precisely the type of research-informed discussion that is sometimes missing in our contemporary information environment.

WNCU has been a welcoming and supportive host and we have greatly appreciated their help as they have built on their considerable expertise as music historians and presenters to develop a comfortable home for discussion of everyday life as social scientists see it.

This year, we’ll be reaching out to new audiences at SwitchPoint.

We see our mission as open-source translation of social science to improve public discourse and to invite a next generation of researchers to contribute.

This year, we’ll be reaching out to new audiences at SwitchPoint, the annual conference on humanitarian innovation, technology, and global health, hosted by IntraHealth International. The Measure of Everyday Life will have a sound booth there to capture the stories of each presenter (and, we hope, the stories behind the stories).

If you’re planning to attend SwitchPoint, be certain to stop by and say hello.    

Do you have ideas about where we might go next? Visit us at Follow us on Twitter @MeasureRadio. Find us on iTunes, iHeartRadio, Facebook, or We welcome ideas for future guests and ways to start discussions offline and around the world beyond our Sunday night broadcasts.

We need to better connect social science to social life, and together we can start to do that.  

Don't wait! Get your tickets today for SwitchPoint 2017, April 27-28, in Saxapahaw, North Carolina.