In the first section, the guide identifies common ideas that will help you become as impactful as possible. For example, the e-book recommends being clear about the change you’d like to achieve and engaging with the right stakeholders from the beginning.
The next chapter focuses on practical tips to help you boost the impact of your research. There are many channels you could use, from speaking at conferences and writing non-academic articles to engagement on social media and creating video abstracts. Overall, the guide gives four communications tips for sharing your research. Firstly, consider your audience and tailor your messaging accordingly. Secondly, make sure you simplify your language – don’t get caught up in the details and use plain English without jargon. Next, try to tell a story with your research to convey your messages effectively. And lastly, keep on learning and practising. Effective communication does take time to master, so be ready to take up as many opportunities as you can to try new things, experiment and learn from others.
Apart from these communication tips, the guide also gives advice on writing, picking the right journal and engaging on social media. Additionally, it prepares you for interacting with the media. For example, you should try to frame your research in a newsworthy way to capture journalists’ interest by highlighting a significant breakthrough stemming from your research and mentioning a finding that influences our daily lives or relates to current events and popular ideas.
Finally, the guide recommends a regular engagement with policymakers. Identify the policymakers relevant to your field and connect with them both online and offline. Prepare your research findings into a digestible and simple format and study the context and bigger picture of the area you are trying to influence. Don’t be afraid to use your network to find people who can help you make the right connections.
The last chapter of the guide looks at measuring your research impact. In the evaluation, you should ideally use both qualitative and quantitative data to prove your impact and make sure you have evidence to back up your claims.
Overall, the Taylor and Francis guide is a great starting point for understanding research impact. It is written in a simple, accessible language with plenty of examples, tips and links to further reading. If you are an academic beginning to explore the world of research impact, this is the resource for you.
This article is part of our initiative, R2A Impact Practitioners. To find out more, please click here.