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Research

Research 

The Reader Organisation’s research partner, the Centre for Research into Reading, Information and Linguistic Systems (CRILS) at the University of Liverpool, seeks to set the world agenda in:

  • Reading, health and well-being
  • New digital technologies and the future of meaning
  • The role of literature in modelling creative thinking about human existence

PUBLISHED REPORTS

'An Evaluation of a Literature-Based Intervention for People with Chronic Pain' (Billington, J. Humphreys, A-L.  McDonnell, K. Jones, A., 2014)

This study, conducted through a partnership between researchers from CRILS and Health Sciences at the University of Liverpool, The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen NHS Hospital Trust and The Reader Organisation, investigates whether shared reading as a literature-based intervention was beneficial for people with chronic pain when delivered in a clinical setting.

Positive impacts in terms of pain and psychological wellbeing were found in areas such as absorbed concentration, a sense of shared community, comradeship and friendship, mood and quality of life, offering people with complex and chronic pain conditions an alternative intervention that may help to allieviate some features of their condition, with minimum risk of side effects.

Download the full report

'An Evaluation of a Pilot Study of a Literature-Based Intervention with Women in Prison' (Robinson,J. Billington, J.,2013)

This study, conducted through a partnership between researchers from CRILS, HMP Low Newton, Durham, and The Reader Organisation, and funded by the National Personality Disorder Team (Department of Health), assesses how the benefits of Get Into Reading as a literature-based intervention transfer to a female prison.

The study found that there were four significant areas of improved wellbeing to female prisoners taking part in shared reading:

  • Social Wellbeing
  • Emotional/Psychological Wellbeing
  • Educational Wellbeing
  • Organisational Wellbeing

Download the full report

This report, by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, uses a social return on investment analysis (SROI) to assess the impact of Get Into Reading on the health and wellbeing of participants. The evaluation found that, for every £1 invested in Get Into Reading, a social return average of £6.47 was generated. - See more at: /what-we-do-and-why/health-wellbeing.aspx#sthash.rmjCAWHr.dpuf

‘A Literature-Based Intervention for Older People Living with Dementia’ (Davis, P. Billington, J. Carroll, J. Healey, C. Kinderman, P., 2012)

Funded by the Headley Trust, the conclusions of this six-month study found that the literature-based intervention provided by Get Into Reading produces a significant reduction in dementia symptoms and benefits the quality of life of both the residents and staff carers.

The quantitative and qualitative research also found that short and long-term memory was positively influenced, listening skills were improved and the provision of activity by an external organisation enhanced patient care.

Download the full report

Download the list of Reading Material used in the project

‘An investigation into the therapeutic benefits of reading in relation to depression and well-being’ (Josie Billington, Chris Dowrick, Andrew Hamer, Jude Robinson, and Clare Williams, 2010)

This one-year research study concluded that shared reading groups helped patients suffering from depression in terms of their social, mental, emotional and psychological well-being. The clinical data indicated that statistically significant improvements in the mental health of depressed patients had occurred during the 12-month period in which they had attended reading groups.

It found that there were four significant ‘mechanisms of action’ involved in the reading group intervention, three of which were essential to its success, the fourth influential:

  • A rich, varied, non-prescriptive diet of serious literature
  • The role of the group facilitator in making the literature ‘live’ in the room
  • The role of the group in offering support and a sense of community
  • The creation of stimulating, non-pressurised, non-judgemental atmosphere (‘not like school’, as one participant emphatically put it) overrode considerations of physical environment

The report also established what types of literature work, why they work and how they work in the specific context of depressive illness.

Download the executive summary

Download the full report

Current Research Projects

‘Shakespeared Brain’

This pioneering research seeks to demonstrate how challenging literature can ‘shift mental pathways’. The most recent findings of monitored brain activity in volunteers reading works by Shakespeare, Wordsworth and Eliot produced significant electrical activity in the areas of the brain connected to language, memory and emotion, compared to ‘straightforward’ translations of the text which produced less. This makes it possible to suggest that great literature may have real therapeutic value. Read an article about this work in The Daily Telegraph

A Literature-Based Intervention for Sufferers of Chronic Pain

Two weekly Get Into Reading groups for those suffering from chronic pain – one in hospital, one in the community – have been set up to investigate the effects that a reading intervention might have for sufferers of chronic pain. This study has been funded by DCMS and Mersey Care NHS Trust.

Participatory Arts for Well-Being: Past and Present Practices

A collaboration between University of Liverpool, Exeter and Glamorgan in partnership with The Reader Organisation and the Young Foundation (funded by the AHRC), the study will offer analytical studies of flagship community arts practices, including Get Into Reading, resulting in a special issue of the Journal of Arts and Communities in 2013.

A Practice-informed Study of the Theoretical Bases for Bibliotherapy

Building on the University of Liverpool’s groundbreaking MA Reading in Practice, the AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award partners us with CRILS and Mersey Care NHS Trust, this pioneering project explores the existing theoretical foundations for the practice of bibliotherapy, or ‘reading as cure’, in English literature.

OTHER REPORTS

'An evaluation of the social value of Get Into Reading intiative in Wirral, Merseyside' (Whelan, G., 2013)

This report, by the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, uses a social return on investment analysis (SROI) to assess the impact of Get Into Reading on the health and wellbeing of participants. The evaluation found that, for every £1 invested in Get Into Reading, a social return average of £6.47 was generated.

Download the full report here.

Reading and Talking: Exploring the experience of taking part in reading groups at Walton Neuro-Rehabilitation Unit (Robinson, J., 2008)

Download the full report here.

Reading and Talking: Exploring the experience of taking part in reading groups at Vauxhall Health Care Centre (Robinson, J., 2008)

Download the full report here.

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The Reader Organisation The Friary Centre Bute Street Liverpool L5 3LA

Email: info@thereader.org.uk

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Registered charity number: 1126806

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