Designing practitioner research for impact
Miggie Pickton
DARTS4 Conference, Totnes
5th
June 2014
Outline
• What is impact?
• Impact and public funding
• Evidencing and measuring impact
• Why does impact matter?
• Making...
What is impact?
What is impact?
Oxford Dictionaries:
• “The action of one object coming
forcibly into contact with another”
Or
• “A marked...
Research impact
• Research Councils UK (RCUK):
– “Academic impact - The demonstrable contribution that
excellent research ...
Academic impact
The traditional approach to research?
• Advancement of knowledge is an end in itself
• Researchers communi...
Economic and societal impact
• The government wants evidence of economic and social
return on their investment in research...
RCUK Impact Summary
• The impact summary must address the questions:
– Who will benefit from the research?
– How will they...
Pathways to impact
• Describe the activities that will help deliver the impact of the
research to those who will benefit f...
Evidencing and measuring impact
Evidencing academic impact
• Traditionally we have used bibliometrics to help researchers
measure their scholarly impact:
...
Evidencing social and economic impact
• Impact on economy, society, culture, etc. is more complex
• The REF impact pilot e...
But most of us won’t be entered in the REF
or applying for RCUK funding.
So why does impact matter to us?
Impact matters because…
• Funders demand it
• Justify use of resource (researcher time, costs etc.)
• Demonstrate value fo...
Making an impact in practitioner
research
Impact and practitioner research
• ‘Practitioner’ research in LIS usually has a different agenda
to ‘academic’ research:
–...
Q1: What constitutes ‘impact’ in LIS
practitioner research?
Q2: What evidence would you collect
to demonstrate this?
Impact of LIS practitioner research
Some examples:
• Generation of new knowledge
• Creation of innovative processes, metho...
Evidence of impact of LIS research
Usage statistics
User feedback
Adoption of ideas /
processes / policies
by others
Downl...
Designing practitioner research for
impact
Building impact into your research
• Think about impact at every stage of the project:
– What difference do you want to ma...
Example: reading lists project (1)
• Research topic: use of annotated reading lists as a
pedagogical tool to support infor...
Example: reading lists project (2)
• Delivering benefit to stakeholders:
– Invite participation in project via interviews ...
Example: reading lists project (3)
• Gathering evidence of impact:
– Metrics e.g.
• Number of academic staff participating...
Exercise
• Choose a research topic that you might wish to explore.
• For this potential project:
– State one difference th...
So what?
• Funders, employers, managers all want a return on their
investment so impact is here to stay
• Practitioner res...
References
Cruickshank, P., Hall, H. and Taylor-Smith, E. (2011) Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects
[online]. A...
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"Designing practitioner research for impact" Miggie Pickton, DARTS4

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Miggie will highlight the growing importance of impact in research generally including impact case studies in the REF, funders’ demands for impact statements in research proposals, and employers requiring impact on service. This section will make a link between librarians supporting researchers and doing (and using) research themselves. This will lead on to looking at opportunities for making an impact in practitioner research.

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  • From conference synopses:
    “Miggie will highlight the growing importance of impact in research generally including impact case studies in the REF, funders’ demands for impact statements in research proposals, and employers requiring impact on service. This section will make a link between librarians supporting researchers and doing (and using) research themselves. This will lead on to looking at opportunities for making an impact in practitioner research.”
  • Group shout-out!
  • Group shout-out!
  • Work in small groups – for each type of impact please suggest which evidence you would need to collect to demonstrate this.
    10 minutes?
    Feed back to whole group. 5 minutes?
  • What impact can LIS research have?
    Generation of new knowledge – e.g. understanding of user needs; development of new theories, ideas and solutions to problems
    Creation of innovative processes, methods and tools – e.g. online delivery of support and training
    Changes to organisational culture and practice – e.g. adoption of new team working practices leading to behavioural and attitudinal change
    Improvements in service efficiency and effectiveness – e.g. development of new management reports and statistics; restructuring of services
    Enhancement of institutional reputation – e.g. recognition for research and innovative practice
    Improvements in student/user experience – e.g. facilitating easier access to resources; services tailored to real student needs
    Increased engagement with social and economic communities – e.g. outreach initiatives designed to support local communities
  • 10 mins, in pairs
  • "Designing practitioner research for impact" Miggie Pickton, DARTS4

    1. 1. Designing practitioner research for impact Miggie Pickton DARTS4 Conference, Totnes 5th June 2014
    2. 2. Outline • What is impact? • Impact and public funding • Evidencing and measuring impact • Why does impact matter? • Making an impact in practitioner research • Designing practitioner research for impact
    3. 3. What is impact?
    4. 4. What is impact? Oxford Dictionaries: • “The action of one object coming forcibly into contact with another” Or • “A marked effect or influence”
    5. 5. Research impact • Research Councils UK (RCUK): – “Academic impact - The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to academic advances, across and within disciplines, including significant advances in understanding, methods, theory and application.” – “Economic and societal impacts - The demonstrable contribution that excellent research makes to society and the economy.” (RCUK, 2014a) • REF2014: “an effect on, change or benefit to the economy, society, culture, public policy or services, health, the environment or quality of life, beyond academia” (REF, 2012a, p.26)
    6. 6. Academic impact The traditional approach to research? • Advancement of knowledge is an end in itself • Researchers communicate via scholarly societies and journals • Kudos is achieved from peer recognition, through citation and review • Often little attempt to engage with the non-academic community • But now...
    7. 7. Economic and societal impact • The government wants evidence of economic and social return on their investment in research • Funders such as RCUK, HEFCE (via the REF) and JISC have responded by explicitly including impact in their requirements • In REF2014 research impact carried a weighting of 20% of the outcome of each submission, demonstrated in impact case studies • Most applicants for RCUK funding are now expected to complete an ‘impact summary’ describing who will benefit from the research, and how, and to outline ‘pathways to impact’ showing what the researcher will do to ensure this benefit is delivered (RCUK, 2014b)
    8. 8. RCUK Impact Summary • The impact summary must address the questions: – Who will benefit from the research? – How will they benefit from the research? • RCUK expects beneficiaries to come from beyond academia e.g. commercial organisations, public sector, governmental, policy-makers, general public etc. • Ways of benefitting can include economic, social, health, cultural, policy, environmental and quality of life enhancements • Researchers are asked to indicate the timescales over which the benefits will be realised and the contribution the research will make to these RCUK, [n.d.]
    9. 9. Pathways to impact • Describe the activities that will help deliver the impact of the research to those who will benefit from it, for example by: – Identifying the research outputs that are most likely to generate impact – Undertaking promotional activities such as targeted communications, workshops, events etc. – Producing publicity materials appropriate for different audiences – Exploiting existing professional networks, especially those with capacity to reach intended beneficiaries – Encouraging collaborative partners to use and promote the research
    10. 10. Evidencing and measuring impact
    11. 11. Evidencing academic impact • Traditionally we have used bibliometrics to help researchers measure their scholarly impact: – Citation counts – Journal impact factors, eigenfactors – H-indexes, g-indexes, ... (personal, research group or institutional) • And now we have altmetrics too: – Downloads, page views, ‘likes’, re-tweets, blog comments, links etc. Which of these do you use when supporting researchers?
    12. 12. Evidencing social and economic impact • Impact on economy, society, culture, etc. is more complex • The REF impact pilot exercise produced examples of good practice in demonstrating impact (REF, 2012b), including: – Use of research outputs (e.g. theories, systems, tools, products) in commerce, industry and services – Development of national or international standards, guidelines or policy – Public recognition e.g. through prizes, critical acclaim, book sales, take-up of work by national media (radio, TV etc.) – Attributed testimonial support from experts and beneficiaries – Citations in non-academic publications How can these be measured? Is there a role for libraries in finding supporting evidence?
    13. 13. But most of us won’t be entered in the REF or applying for RCUK funding. So why does impact matter to us?
    14. 14. Impact matters because… • Funders demand it • Justify use of resource (researcher time, costs etc.) • Demonstrate value for money • Attract interest from potential participants • Build (own and organisational) reputation / raise profile • Benefit career • Generate positive benefit for service, economy, society, culture, ... • Make a difference!
    15. 15. Making an impact in practitioner research
    16. 16. Impact and practitioner research • ‘Practitioner’ research in LIS usually has a different agenda to ‘academic’ research: – Focused on current problem or need – Pragmatic approach to theory and methodology – often investigative or evaluative – Results inform practice – support decision-making for immediate benefit – Audience includes colleagues, user groups and other practitioners; further dissemination is often a secondary consideration • So what does ‘impact’ mean in this context?...
    17. 17. Q1: What constitutes ‘impact’ in LIS practitioner research? Q2: What evidence would you collect to demonstrate this?
    18. 18. Impact of LIS practitioner research Some examples: • Generation of new knowledge • Creation of innovative processes, methods and tools • Changes to organisational culture and practice • Improvements in service efficiency and effectiveness • Enhancement of institutional reputation • Improvements in student/user experience • Increased engagement with social and economic communities
    19. 19. Evidence of impact of LIS research Usage statistics User feedback Adoption of ideas / processes / policies by others Downloads (of reports, software etc) Staff time saved Social media referrals New policies created Cost savings Uptake of new services by users Behavioural change Citations Invitations to speak at conferences 
    20. 20. Designing practitioner research for impact
    21. 21. Building impact into your research • Think about impact at every stage of the project: – What difference do you want to make, and to whom? – How will you ensure that stakeholders are able to benefit? – How will you measure the impact that you are having? • How will you engage with stakeholders, both during and after the project? • How will you collect evidence of impact throughout the project and afterwards? (Be open to identifying new impacts as a project progresses)
    22. 22. Example: reading lists project (1) • Research topic: use of annotated reading lists as a pedagogical tool to support information skills development amongst students • Desired impact: – Adoption of good practice in reading list design – Improvement in pedagogical value of reading lists – Enhancement of information skills among students • Stakeholders: – Academic tutors (creators of reading lists) – Students (consumers of reading lists) – Library staff (supporting information skills development) Based on Rose and Siddall (2012)
    23. 23. Example: reading lists project (2) • Delivering benefit to stakeholders: – Invite participation in project via interviews and focus groups – Promote good practice via internal meetings and liaison channels – Seek commitment from senior staff and opinion leaders to act as champions of good practice – Provide training and development opportunities for academic staff – Disseminate research outputs to professional colleagues via traditional and new scholarly communication channels (including social media (as recommended by Cruickshank et al., 2011)) Based on Rose and Siddall (2012)
    24. 24. Example: reading lists project (3) • Gathering evidence of impact: – Metrics e.g. • Number of academic staff participating in interviews and focus groups / development opportunities • Number of new annotated reading lists • Usage of annotated reading lists – Feedback from academic staff, students and librarians – Downloads of good practice guidelines – Citations of research papers and presentations Based on Rose and Siddall (2012)
    25. 25. Exercise • Choose a research topic that you might wish to explore. • For this potential project: – State one difference that you would like to make – Identify one stakeholder that will benefit from the research – Describe one way that you will ensure they have the opportunity to benefit • Now turn to your neighbour and answer the same questions for their chosen topic.
    26. 26. So what? • Funders, employers, managers all want a return on their investment so impact is here to stay • Practitioner researchers have an immediate advantage because our research has application and impact built in • As librarians we already have good skills in advocacy, engagement and promotion of our services – these can easily be harnessed for generating impact • So let’s go for it!!
    27. 27. References Cruickshank, P., Hall, H. and Taylor-Smith, E. (2011) Enhancing the impact of LIS research projects [online]. Available from: http://lisresearchcoalition.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/rilies1_report.pdf [accessed 03.06.14]. JISC (2014) Impact [online]. Available from: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/fundingopportunities/projectmanagement/planning/impact.aspx [accessed 03.06.14]. REF (2012a) Assessment framework and guidance on submissions [online]. Available from: http://www.ref.ac.uk/pubs/2011-02/ [accessed 16.05.14]. REF (2012b) Impact pilot exercise [online]. Available from: http://www.ref.ac.uk/background/pilot/ [accessed 02.06.14]. RCUK (2014a) What do Research Councils mean by ‘impact’. RCUK [online]. Available from: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/ke/impacts/meanbyimpact/ [accessed 16.05.14]. RCUK (2014b) Research Council guidance for completing the Pathways to Impact. RCUK [online]. Available from: http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/ke/impacts/Guidance/ [accessed 02.06.14]. RCUK [n.d.] Je-S system helptext pages > Outline proposals > Impact summary [online]. Available from: http://je-s.rcuk.ac.uk/Handbook/index.htm [accessed 02.06.14]. Rose, H. and Siddall, G. (2012) Reading lists - time for a reality check? Invited Presentation presented to: Librarians’ Information Literacy Annual Conference (LILAC 2012), Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland, 11-13 April 2012. Available from: http://nectar.northampton.ac.uk/4284/ [accessed 03.06.14].
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