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Discussion of research uptake and impact activities and reflections from our work on unsafe abortion in Zambia 
Ernestina Coast & Emily Freeman 
ESRC DFID Poverty Alleviation Conference Tuesday 9 September 2014
A discussion-based workshop 
•Brief introduction to our study and impact activities 
•Divide into small breakout groups to reflect on and discuss: 
1.Getting the aim of our impact maximisation strategy straight 
2.Creating and capitalising on social networks 
3.Tracking impact 
Presentation on-line at www.slideshare.net/ZambiaTOP Group’s discussions will be captured and circulated
Our research focus: unsafe abortion in Zambia 
Research study (2012-14) 
1 
Impact maximisation project (2014-15) 
2
Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy 
Abortion providers 
Other health practitioners 
Media 
Academics 
MPs & civil servants 
Civil society 
Stakeholders
Some key research findings 
•Unsafe abortion costs the Zambia public health system US$2.4 million a year 
•Having an unsafe procedure that requires post-abortion care costs individuals US$7 more than a safe abortion (3 day’s wages) 
•Young women are more likely to have an unsafe abortion than older women 
•Trajectories to termination cannot be neatly categories safe and unsafe: safety is a continuum 
Safe 
Unsafe
Impact and engagement: research study 
Step one: design a study that’s relevant to stakeholders 
Step two: carry out a study with the stakeholders as co- investigators 
Step three: be generous with ideas and make research tools and materials available to stakeholders 
Step four: talk about the research and findings (conferences, seminars, policy meetings, teaching) 
Step five: be ready for policy windows by having information (not just findings!) available and well- indexed
Impact and engagement: research study 
Step one: design a study that’s relevant to stakeholders 
Step two: carry out a study with the stakeholders as co- investigators 
Step three: be generous with ideas and make research tools and materials available to stakeholders 
Step four: talk about the research and findings (conferences, seminars, policy meetings, teaching) 
Step five: be ready for policy windows by having information (not just findings!) available and well- indexed
Health professionals: presentations and informal networking 
INGOs: focused liaison 
Members of civil society and Parliament: tailored one-to-one briefing meetings 
Academics: presentations, sharing resources, web-based facilities (e.g. www.Scoop.it) 
All of these: Social Science Cafes to communicate research findings and facilitate uptake 
Women seeking information about abortion: radio shows on “pregnancy crises”, web-based materials 
Impact and engagement: impact maximisation project
More stakeholders 
Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy 
Journalists 
Police 
Abortion providers 
Other health practitioners 
Media 
Academics 
MPs & civil servants 
Civil society 
Stakeholders
Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy 
Journalists 
Police 
Abortion providers 
Other health practitioners 
Media 
Academics 
MPs & civil servants 
Civil society 
Stakeholders 
Training journalists and getting positive TOP stories in the news 
More stakeholders 
Learning from and supporting stakeholders (INGO and medical collaborators) currently reaching police
Where we are up to 
•Presentation by Zambian collaborator at Zambian Medial Association 
•Presentations to different types of audience, including INGOs 
•Interviews with media and media coverage 
•Planning of radio programmes 
•Joining with and supporting INGO to deliver their pre- planned journalist training 
Impact and engagement: impact maximisation project
What are we trying to achieve though? 
Wider knowledge of the research findings? 
Use of the research findings in policy/ programming? 
Reduction in the level of mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion in Zambia? 
Substantive outcomes 
Instrumental outcomes
The aim of our research impact maximisation project 
That research findings are used to support the efforts of those in a position to directly (e.g. providers, journalists) or indirectly (e.g. NGO lobbying government for non-legislative policy change) reduce unsafe abortions in Zambia
Small group discussion questions 
•What are some instrumental outcomes in your work? 
•What are some substantive outcomes in your work? 
•How would you measure success?
•Social networks are central to encouraging research uptake 
•Not only who you know, but who they know, and what they know about those people and the kinds of messages they will be receptive to 
Zambia’s First Lady advised what messages to produce (economic-based) 
INGO advised what messages we should drop to avoid harm 
Creating and capitalising on social networks
How? 
•Well-connected collaborators 
–e.g. collaborators drawn from media and medicine 
–You don’t need to know them already! 
•Be present 
–In person: e.g. 3 days in Zambia in August: a list of 21 new important contacts, meetings with INGOs, 6 unplanned media (radio, print, TV) interviews (incl. non-English speaking), 6 features in newspapers across Africa 
–On line: Twitter links; 3 days in Zambia began as an email to INGO on journalist training
How? 
•Be timely 
–Research that is current or very recent is more salient for those working in the topic area and the media 
–Relationships need frequency of contact. Important in this study to capitalise on them quickly 
–Runs against academic cycle of peer-review publication before dissemination and impact work
•How important are personal connections in your research setting? 
•How have you made those? 
•How could you make them? 
Small group discussion questions
Tracking impact 
Mentions, favourites and re-tweets 
Contacts & followers 
Relevant news 
Impact log
Challenges to tracking impact 
•Reasons our stakeholders make good collaborators is part of the reason we had difficulty to get them to contribute to the log 
•Some models are time consuming 
•Keeping track of contacts and conversations doesn’t demonstrate causality
•How do you/will you track impact? 
•How have you encouraged all team members to contribute to monitoring impact? 
•How will your records of impact be used? 
Small group discussion questions
Good places for information on process of impact maximisation 
A good resource on the process of developing a impact maximisation strategy 
•ODI’s guide to policy engagement and influence: http://roma.odi.org/ 
Good resources on individual elements of a strategy 
•Resources from the Academy of Social Sciences International Advisory Group seminar ‘Evidence and the policy process: international insights’ http://acss.org.uk/international-advisory-group-iag-seminars/iag-seminar-series-report- seminar-5/ 
•Notes from the ODI’s short course ‘Engaging your policy audiences’ (and the course, if it runs again!) http://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/Engagingyourpolicyaudiences1daycoursepresentation.pdf 
•ESRC impact toolkit http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/impact-toolkit/ 
•The numerous resources and guides of the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/ 
•Some articles and blogs we thought were interesting on our Scoop.it page http://www.scoop.it/t/social-science-impact
Keeping in touch 
•Let us know if you want to keep in touch and/or receive an overview of our discussions! 
•You can contact us by any of the following: 
Ernestina Emily 
e.coast@lse.ac.uk e.freeman@lse.ac.uk 
http://zambiatop.wordpress.com/ 
https://twitter.com/zambiatop or @ZambiaToP

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Research uptake and impact activities: reflections from our work on unsafe abortion in Zambia

  • 1. Discussion of research uptake and impact activities and reflections from our work on unsafe abortion in Zambia Ernestina Coast & Emily Freeman ESRC DFID Poverty Alleviation Conference Tuesday 9 September 2014
  • 2. A discussion-based workshop •Brief introduction to our study and impact activities •Divide into small breakout groups to reflect on and discuss: 1.Getting the aim of our impact maximisation strategy straight 2.Creating and capitalising on social networks 3.Tracking impact Presentation on-line at www.slideshare.net/ZambiaTOP Group’s discussions will be captured and circulated
  • 3. Our research focus: unsafe abortion in Zambia Research study (2012-14) 1 Impact maximisation project (2014-15) 2
  • 4. Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy Abortion providers Other health practitioners Media Academics MPs & civil servants Civil society Stakeholders
  • 5. Some key research findings •Unsafe abortion costs the Zambia public health system US$2.4 million a year •Having an unsafe procedure that requires post-abortion care costs individuals US$7 more than a safe abortion (3 day’s wages) •Young women are more likely to have an unsafe abortion than older women •Trajectories to termination cannot be neatly categories safe and unsafe: safety is a continuum Safe Unsafe
  • 6. Impact and engagement: research study Step one: design a study that’s relevant to stakeholders Step two: carry out a study with the stakeholders as co- investigators Step three: be generous with ideas and make research tools and materials available to stakeholders Step four: talk about the research and findings (conferences, seminars, policy meetings, teaching) Step five: be ready for policy windows by having information (not just findings!) available and well- indexed
  • 7. Impact and engagement: research study Step one: design a study that’s relevant to stakeholders Step two: carry out a study with the stakeholders as co- investigators Step three: be generous with ideas and make research tools and materials available to stakeholders Step four: talk about the research and findings (conferences, seminars, policy meetings, teaching) Step five: be ready for policy windows by having information (not just findings!) available and well- indexed
  • 8.
  • 9. Health professionals: presentations and informal networking INGOs: focused liaison Members of civil society and Parliament: tailored one-to-one briefing meetings Academics: presentations, sharing resources, web-based facilities (e.g. www.Scoop.it) All of these: Social Science Cafes to communicate research findings and facilitate uptake Women seeking information about abortion: radio shows on “pregnancy crises”, web-based materials Impact and engagement: impact maximisation project
  • 10. More stakeholders Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy Journalists Police Abortion providers Other health practitioners Media Academics MPs & civil servants Civil society Stakeholders
  • 11. Women & men wishing to terminate a pregnancy Journalists Police Abortion providers Other health practitioners Media Academics MPs & civil servants Civil society Stakeholders Training journalists and getting positive TOP stories in the news More stakeholders Learning from and supporting stakeholders (INGO and medical collaborators) currently reaching police
  • 12. Where we are up to •Presentation by Zambian collaborator at Zambian Medial Association •Presentations to different types of audience, including INGOs •Interviews with media and media coverage •Planning of radio programmes •Joining with and supporting INGO to deliver their pre- planned journalist training Impact and engagement: impact maximisation project
  • 13. What are we trying to achieve though? Wider knowledge of the research findings? Use of the research findings in policy/ programming? Reduction in the level of mortality and morbidity from unsafe abortion in Zambia? Substantive outcomes Instrumental outcomes
  • 14. The aim of our research impact maximisation project That research findings are used to support the efforts of those in a position to directly (e.g. providers, journalists) or indirectly (e.g. NGO lobbying government for non-legislative policy change) reduce unsafe abortions in Zambia
  • 15. Small group discussion questions •What are some instrumental outcomes in your work? •What are some substantive outcomes in your work? •How would you measure success?
  • 16. •Social networks are central to encouraging research uptake •Not only who you know, but who they know, and what they know about those people and the kinds of messages they will be receptive to Zambia’s First Lady advised what messages to produce (economic-based) INGO advised what messages we should drop to avoid harm Creating and capitalising on social networks
  • 17. How? •Well-connected collaborators –e.g. collaborators drawn from media and medicine –You don’t need to know them already! •Be present –In person: e.g. 3 days in Zambia in August: a list of 21 new important contacts, meetings with INGOs, 6 unplanned media (radio, print, TV) interviews (incl. non-English speaking), 6 features in newspapers across Africa –On line: Twitter links; 3 days in Zambia began as an email to INGO on journalist training
  • 18. How? •Be timely –Research that is current or very recent is more salient for those working in the topic area and the media –Relationships need frequency of contact. Important in this study to capitalise on them quickly –Runs against academic cycle of peer-review publication before dissemination and impact work
  • 19. •How important are personal connections in your research setting? •How have you made those? •How could you make them? Small group discussion questions
  • 20. Tracking impact Mentions, favourites and re-tweets Contacts & followers Relevant news Impact log
  • 21. Challenges to tracking impact •Reasons our stakeholders make good collaborators is part of the reason we had difficulty to get them to contribute to the log •Some models are time consuming •Keeping track of contacts and conversations doesn’t demonstrate causality
  • 22. •How do you/will you track impact? •How have you encouraged all team members to contribute to monitoring impact? •How will your records of impact be used? Small group discussion questions
  • 23. Good places for information on process of impact maximisation A good resource on the process of developing a impact maximisation strategy •ODI’s guide to policy engagement and influence: http://roma.odi.org/ Good resources on individual elements of a strategy •Resources from the Academy of Social Sciences International Advisory Group seminar ‘Evidence and the policy process: international insights’ http://acss.org.uk/international-advisory-group-iag-seminars/iag-seminar-series-report- seminar-5/ •Notes from the ODI’s short course ‘Engaging your policy audiences’ (and the course, if it runs again!) http://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/Engagingyourpolicyaudiences1daycoursepresentation.pdf •ESRC impact toolkit http://www.esrc.ac.uk/funding-and-guidance/impact-toolkit/ •The numerous resources and guides of the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/impactofsocialsciences/ •Some articles and blogs we thought were interesting on our Scoop.it page http://www.scoop.it/t/social-science-impact
  • 24. Keeping in touch •Let us know if you want to keep in touch and/or receive an overview of our discussions! •You can contact us by any of the following: Ernestina Emily e.coast@lse.ac.uk e.freeman@lse.ac.uk http://zambiatop.wordpress.com/ https://twitter.com/zambiatop or @ZambiaToP