How to make an impact (our impact "toolkit")

Photo of young researchers working together at a computer

Setting the research agenda

Who else might be interested? 

  • Wide range of stakeholders working in general area
  • Those interested but possibly not participative in your research
  • Depends on whether research is responsive or not e.g. NICE-guideline recommendation – establishes a framework of interested parties in healthcare and government.

Strategies

Actions

  • Establish an advisory group of research users that meets biannually and are willing to offer advice at other times
  • Host a stakeholder workshop prior to writing your proposal
  • Develop a system to maintain a list of people within stakeholder groups to whom you can discuss research ideas
  • Maintain your online profile e.g. via Researchgate
  • Consider the possible role of a knowledge broker to maximise impact in your area
  • Appoint a Knowledge Exchange Coordinator within your research group

Useful resources

Capturing impact

  • Maintain an active research summary that begins with a statement of the impetus for the research
  • If meeting with stakeholders, keep a summary of what you spoke about (or event) and when
  • Keep email records, especially those containing actions by stakeholders
  • Invite stakeholders to write, or talk, about their involvement on a website or blog

Writing a research proposal

Who else might be interested? 

  • Who could my partners be?
  • Identify various stakeholders who might care about the outcome of your research and/or how you do it:
    - The general public
    - Patient groups
    - Third sector organisations
    - Health service/professionals
    - Government and local policy makers: people in leadership or management roles
    - Academics
    - Industry

Strategies

  • Make contact and build relationships, form communities of practice
  • If the idea was not developed WITH them, ask for stakeholder opinions whether the topic and research questions matter to them and/or how your ideas could be shaped to make it even more relevant
  • Ask people if they would like to collaborate with you on the research; consider that you may need to count some of their time into the funding bid, depending on what their role might be.
  • Tell people the outcome of applications no matter what their role 

Actions

  • Circulate draft for comments and input, including impact strategies
  • Co-produce materials for review – especially lay or plain English summaries
  • Allocate funds for KE/engagement activity:
    - PR/marketing support
    - travel costs KE engagements
    - websites/apps/video
    - NGO staff time and ‘patient/public advisor’ time. See guidance on paying patient/public advisors in Useful resources below

Useful resources

Capturing impact

  • Store copies of any PAFs
  • Keep notes/minutes of meetings to set up the proposal and any emails to thank your partners for their time
  • If you go into a formal partnership with organisations when the research is funded, make sure there is a clause which enables you to ask for information about how the research is used

Doing your research

Who else might be interested? 

  • Who else cares about the specific research you are doing: researchers, people who work in other organisations, policy makers, health professionals, third sector partners, individual members of the public?
  • Involve all your research team in the interpretation of your findings, including non-academic partners.

Strategies

  • Make a database of contacts and update them on the progress of the research from time to time
  • Collect all data pertinent to the study, include external user data
  • Maintain relationships throughout and include in interpretation and analysis as appropriate

Actions

  • Flash reports
  • Website
  • Social media
  • Progress reports
  • Research summaries for externals
  • Data management plan (policies on data-sharing with partners for both research and post-research data)
  • Use full research team meetings or interpretation workshops to make sense of your findings

Useful resources

Capturing impact

  • Put website metrics in place before launching website (agree reporting structure from external sites implementing your research)
  • Use Storify to track and document social media surges related to your research

Disseminating your research

Who else might be interested? 

Identify various stakeholders who will be interested in the outcome of your research and/or how you do it.

  • The general public
  • Service users groups
  • Advocacy groups
  • Third sector organisations
  • Health service/professionals
  • Government and local policy makers: people in leadership or management roles
  • Academics
  • Industry
  • Newspapers, radio and television news

Look at the resources and training offered by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement and the Beltane Public Engagement Network

Strategies

  • Strategies should be tailored to particular target audiences. The process, context and content* of dissemination are important considerations
  • Consider using a theoretical framework for guiding dissemination strategy e.g. McGuire’s Five Variable Approach: Source of communication, the message to be communicated, the channels of communication, the characteristics of the audience, and the setting
  • Consultation with stakeholders will be important for identifying and operationalizing dissemination strategies
  • Materials (e.g. briefings/reports/papers/posters/presentations) should be prepared to facilitate dissemination

Actions

  • Reflect on who the audiences are. Tailor the process, context and content of dissemination to these particular audiences
  • Explore opportunities and/or institutions to fund open-access to journal papers
  • Submit papers to national and international conferences/meetings
  • Work with the GU Communications Office to target journalists (find a hook to complement the research). Send them your paper AS SOON AS IT IS ACCEPTED. If you think it is going to be interesting to the public, send it before. You can send it to: media@glasgow.ac.uk
  • If you have a press release send it to ihwadmin@glasgow.ac.uk as well and then they tweet about it and also pass on to fundraising teams
  • Upload papers to Enlighten
  • Upload final drafts of papers to websites such Academia.edu and/or Research Gate
  • Prepare flash reports
  • Utilise media including social media, radio and television
  • Prepare policy briefs
  • Prepare reports and/or presentations for stakeholders and advisory groups
  • Organise continued professional development events to convey research findings

Useful resources

Capturing impact

  • Track (and store) website statistics
  • Record and evaluate all targeted public engagements
  • Blog about your dissemination strategy using platforms such as wordpress.com
  • Pre/post evaluation of CPD
  • Press: Collect readership/circulation figures from GU's Communications Office while the article is circulating (they don’t store data)
  • Workshops/conference: who was debating? How was your research used? Contacts for testimonials?
  • Advisory roles/stakeholder meetings: at each meeting record what your role was; what research you discussed; who you discussed it with (contact details)

Supporting impact

Who else might be interested? 

The targets of this promotion would be the decision-makers round about us who might be interested in our work or in commissioning future work e.g.

  • public bodies/NGOs
  • research funders
  • commercial enterprises
  • government and politicians
  • charities

Strategies

  • Promote IHW’s past and present work on impact, to demonstrate this is taken seriously
  • Work jointly with partners to develop ways to describe and measure impact that would be meaningful to them (while being practical for university staff).

Actions

  • Staff awareness of importance of impact to IHW
  • Staff awareness of case studies of impact e.g. from the REF
  • Staff awareness of current activities on impact in IHW
  • Each department within IHW to work with one partner per year on a project to describe and measure impact

Useful resources

  • REF case studies of IHW work
  • Propose seminars for IHW staff where people present for 5-10 minutes on their case study of impact

Capturing impact

  • Register of joint projects with partners (see “Actions”)

Print this toolkit

Printable version of IHW impact toolkit.  


Queries, comments and suggestions

If you have any queries about this toolkit, wish to comment on its content, or suggest an addition or amendment, please email ihwadmin@glasgow.ac.uk