D2K Members

Professor Madeleine Murtagh, Dr Joel MinionDr Becca Wilson   



ECOUTER stands for Employing COnceptual schema for policy and Translation Engagement in Research.  It uses an online mind mapping tool to allow stakeholders all over the world to interact with the existing evidence on a topic of shared concern.  An ECOUTER begins with an initial question posed by the organisers as well as links to a selection of key pieces of the existing evidence base. Participants are then invited to respond and contribute additional ideas and links. The online discussions are analysed by social scientists to generate a conceptual framework of the phenomenon or issue considered. The results can then form the basis of recommendations for research, governance, practice and/or policy.


  • Public Population Project in Genomics and Society (P³G), Montreal, Canada.


  • September to November 2014 in collaboration with the Public Population Project in Genomics and Society, Montreal, Canada. What are the ethical, legal and social issues related to trust and data linkage? Online, internationally available ECOUTER implementation over a period of several weeks.
  • ECOUTER was run at the 2014 ESRC Festival of Social Science in the Galleries shopping Centre, Bristol.  The public used ECOUTER to discuss the topic Your health records: hand over or hands off?
  • June 2015 during the Translation in Healthcare conference, Oxford. Translation and emerging technologies: what are your views on the social, ethical and legal issues? Digital face-to-face ECOUTER implementation during the lunch break of an international academic conference.
  • July 2015 during the BioSHaRE tool roll out meeting, Milan. BioSHaRE Tools - Where to now? Manual ECOUTER implementation (paper-based) during a day-long workshop.
  • May to November 2016 during the data collection clinic of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC, publicly known as Children of the 90's) cohort study asking study participants What areas would you like Children of the 90s to research? Online ECOUTER over a period of six months.