Impact Practitioners

Toolkits for planning and measuring engaged research

By 15/06/2023

This interactive website with toolkits and guides published by Campus Engage, a platform within the Irish Universities Association, presents advice, tips and case studies on how to conduct and measure engaged research. Campus Engage argues that knowledge produced in collaborations and partnerships with policymakers, service users and civil society is more likely to have an impact.

Collaboration and engagement with societal partners are therefore at the heart of engaged research, which covers a wide range of approaches and methodologies. They all aim to improve, understand or investigate an issue of public interest or concern. As the authors explain, “engaged research is advanced with community partners rather than for them.” All members of the research team should actively collaborate across all stages of the research life cycle. 

To help researchers plan for engaged research projects, apply for funding and measure their impact, Campus Engaged put together three how-to guides. 

The Engaged Research Framework follows the lifecycle of a research project and proposes key reflective questions and activities for each research stage. The framework covers co-generating ideas, research planning and design, proposal development, project kick-off, data collection and management, data analysis, data access, knowledge co-production and exchange, knowledge mobilisation and translation, impact assessment and project close-out. 

The framework highlights that your chosen engagement methods should encourage dialogue and debate, build new knowledge, address key issues and result in relevant, ethical, timely and beneficial research. It also features a useful research checklist to make sure you haven’t overlooked any areas or opportunities.

The framework is informed by a literature review and extensive consultation with over 300 researchers, policymakers and societal partners. It is very comprehensive and easy to read with plenty of practical advice. 

Another useful guide is the Impact Framework for Engaged Research which covers the basics of planning for impact. It presents an example of a logic model, summarizes 10 impact categories and offers tips for writing an impact statement. 

You can also browse a collection of engaged research case studies, which present real-life projects alongside information on how they engage stakeholders, what activities they conduct and what impacts are achieved. 

impact practitioners quote “Knowledge generated in partnership with policy makers, product, service users, civic and civil society is more likely to be useful to society and have impact.”

Last but not least, Campus Engage provides information on measuring and evaluating engaged research. The website lists examples of qualitative and quantitative data you can collect and an overview of possible indicators, for example, the number of courses provided to build capacity, the number of new or revised public services based on your research evidence, the number of engaged research partnerships and their rating and social media metrics.  

Overall, Campus Engage is a great website providing plenty of information on planning and measuring engaged research. All the guides are comprehensive and easy to read.

This article is part of our initiative, R2A Impact Practitioners. To find out more, please click here.

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