Impact planning toolkit
Identifying the potential impact of your research can help you properly prioritise and plan your knowledge exchange, public engagement and dissemination activities. This toolkit has been developed around 5 questions to help researchers understand their impact, consider new and existing audiences and get the most out of their engagement activities.
|Q1. What impact could come from my research?||
Impact occurs when research is used outside academia. Sometimes impact from research can be clearly identified, other times you may need to consider the context of the situation or challenge the status quo. Impact is rarely occurs in isolation or in a linear way. You may need to consider how the research will contribute to the change or influence.
Impact can take many forms - types of impact
To help understand difference audiences for you research, it can helpful to consider the potential changes that could result from your research.
|Q2. Who else is interested in this?||
Being able to identify your audiences as stakeholders and beneficiaries can help target your plans effectively.
Stakeholders are organisations, groups or individuals who have something to gain or lose through the outcomes of the research
Beneficiaries are groups or individuals either local, national or global who ultimately are affected, influenced or experience an improvement from the research with or without direct contact.
Map of potential beneficiaries and stakeholders - Link
You can start to identify these groups by thinking about:
Prioritisation of stakeholders and beneficiaries:
It isn't always effective or possible to try and interact with all the identified groups. You can determine who will be best to interact with by considering:
This will allow you to target your activities and consider any risks to the impact.
|Q3. How can I engage audiences with my research?||
There are many different ways to engage your stakeholders and beneficiaries with your research; having identified which group you want to engage, you can tailor you activities to enable them to take up and use your research most easily.
There are many types of engagement activities and you should select the type that best suits your research, and stakeholder and beneficaries.
Things to consider when planning activities
Nurturing impact can take time. You should decide whether you or a member of your team is best to take part in these activities.
Stakeholders and beneficiaries are not always able to take up the findings of a piece of research. Stakeholder time-frames may also differ to your project time-frame. It is useful to consider how to manage expectations and when to engage with the groups identified?
Thinking early about what could prevent the impact occurring can help plan flexibility into engagement and manage stakeholder concerns.
Websites and Social media can be a useful way to engage with wide reaching audiences, using and monitoring social media
Potential Risks to Impact:
|Q4. What can I measure?||
It can be easier to gather the evidence of your activities as they occur than try to find it months after the event. It is important to collect this evidence to help demonstrate a clear link from your research to the broader impact. When planning your activities, you should think about what you want to achieve from each activity. This will help determine what you should measure. Where possible you should collect qualitative and quantitative information.
Collecting this information at this stage can help signpost where evidence of impact can be found later on.
What things can be measured?
Measurements collected by others:
Q5. What support do I need?
If you want to discuss getting started with knowledge exchange or public engagement, you can contact your faculty team.
Institution Impact Co-ordinator