Impact planning toolkit
Identifying the potential impact of your research can help with planning and prioritising knowledge exchange, public engagement and dissemination activities. This toolkit has been developed around five questions to help researchers understand their potential impact, consider new and existing stakeholders 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 the potential impact of research can be clearly identified but othertimes you may need to consider the wider context of the research or think creatively about the stakeholders that could help your research to have impact. Impact rarely occurs in isolation or in a linear way.
The type of impact will vary depending on your research but can include:
To understand the different potential stakeholders for your research, consider the potential changes that could result from your research.
|Q2. Who else is interested in this?||
Being able to identify your stakeholders and beneficiaries can help you to target your plans effectively:
The National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement has produced a useful map of potential stakeholders in research.
You can start to identify your stakeholders and beneficiaries by thinking about:
Prioritisation of stakeholders and beneficiaries
It isn't always effective or possible to interact with all the identified stakeholders. You can determine who will be best to interact with by considering:
This will allow you to target your activities and consider potential risks to the impact.
|Q3. How can I engage stakeholders with my research?||
There are many different ways to engage stakeholders and beneficiaries with your research. Once you have identified the stakeholders you want to engage, you can tailor your activities accordingly.
There are many types of engagement activity. You should select the type that best suits your research and the stakeholder's needs.
Things to consider when planning activities
Types of activities
Nurturing impact can take time. You should decide whether you or a member of your team is best placed to lead on these activities.
Some of the possible risks with stakeholder engagement are:
It is useful to consider how to manage expectations and when to engage with the groups identified. Early engagement with stakeholders is often beneficial to establish their needs, identify how best to engage them with the research, build flexibility into engagement plans and manage concerns. Some questions to consider:
|Q4. What can I measure?||
It can be easier to gather evidence of your activities as they occur rather than trying to find it months later. It is important to collect evidence to help demonstrate a clear link from your research to the 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 information while conducting the activities can help to indicate where impact may be achieved at a later stage as well. For example, by keeping a record of attendees at an event you can see a link to your research if one of the attendees then uses your research to influence a policy.
What can be measured?
Measurements collected by others
You should discuss the need to collect evidence impact of research with your stakeholders at an early stage so that they are aware of your requirements and the reasons behind it.
Evidence of impact can be collated and stored in the impact module of myPublications.
Q5. What support do I need?
If you want to discuss getting started with knowledge exchange or public engagement, contact your Faculty team.
Who to contact
If you have any queries about the above, then please contact your departmental impact lead or the Impact and IP Team within Research Services.