There are many and diverse ways to achieve impact. The routes to generate impact have no clear formulas that one can follow. Illustrations are available in King’s College London’s analysis report of the impact case studies submitted to REF2014: http://www.kcl.ac.uk/sspp/policy-institute/publications/Analysis-of-REF-impact.pdf
However, in most cases it helps to consider the user’s perspective
- Who are the potential users of your research?
- What are their needs or expectations?
- How will they access the research?
- What mechanisms are best employed to deliver what is needed?
- What are the barriers?
- How can any resulting change or benefit be measured? i.e. What do we want to know and in how much detail?
Steps along the impact road
- Identify appropriate audiences for the research, i.e. who would benefit from the knowledge.
- What is the best way to reach this audience and initiate dialogue, i.e. what are the appropriate communication channels (press articles, workshops, user groups, conferences, newsletters, exhibitions, etc.).
- Make your research accessible and understandable to a wide audience – make it easy for them to know why your research is important and why they should talk to you.
- It can be useful to have a 30-second pitch ready – but try to ensure that it leads to a follow-up discussion.
- Never pass up an opportunity to find an opportunity.
- Record (in Pure) how your research is being used. In particular for pivotal or landmark events, reactions, changes of direction, identify who benefited and how?
- Gather evidence – feedback, corroborating letters or emails, screenshots, documents, etc.
ESRC Updated Impact Toolkit is now available Read more
The Health Foundation has developed an online communications toolkit to help health and healthcare researchers increase the influence and impact of their work.
- Section 1: Planning for impact will help you plan your communications activity and focus your communications on where they can make the most impact.
- Section 2: Communicating your research results will help you adapt and present your findings in order to engage different audiences.
- Section 3: Extending influence and widening impact will help you understand how to engage three of the key audiences for research dissemination and achieve impact on policy and practice.
- Section 4: Glossary of terms provides an explanation of the terms used in this toolkit.