Understanding Research Impact
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Understanding Research Impact

Research impact is often understood in two large dimensions: scientific/academic impact and socio-economic impact. The information and resources in this repository largely focus on the latter, whereby we define research impact as the effects of research in the real world.

Impact is the changes we can see (demonstrate, measure, capture), beyond academia (in society, economy, environment) which happen because of our research (caused by, contributed to, attributable to). Impact may look and operate slightly differently across disciplines, and for fundamental versus applied research, but ultimately is about connecting academic research to changes in the real world.

The arena of impact is a minefield of terminology, with different countries, organisations, and funders adopting general or very specific vocabulary (e.g. knowledge mobilization, knowledge exchange, research uptake, valorization, etc.). Whatever the word or concept it is used, it is important to distinguish between what is the process (or the pathway to impact) and the intended or unintended effects (impact). For example, science communication or dissemination is not research impact but is a process which might contribute to the impact.

Whichever terminology or framework you use as reference, remember that impact may be big or small, local or global, instrumental (direct change) or conceptual (ideas, feelings), quantitative (products, jobs, revenues) or qualitative, positive or negative. There is no single type or area of impact nor a single type of impact pathway.

Online sources

What do we mean by “impact”? Research to Action-The Global Guide to Research Impact

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Defining impact. UK Research and Innovation

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What is Research Impact? (ENLIGHT. University of Galway)

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Valorisation: researchers already do much more than they realise. Rathenau Instituut

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What types of impact are there? Fast Track Impact

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Understand the outcomes and impacts that matter. Matter of Focus

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Scholarly publications

The Co-produce Pathway to Impact. David Phipps, Joanne Cummings, Debra Pepler, Wendy Craig, and Shelley Cardinal. Journal of Community Engagement Scholarship.

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Maximising the impacts of your research: a handbook for social scientists. LSE Public Policy Group.

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What Is the Meaning of Impact in Relation to Research and Why Does It Matter? A View from Inside Academia. Colin Chandler. Achieving Impact in Research.

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Research impact. A guide to creating, capturing and evaluating the impact of your research. Taylor & Francis Group.

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Research impact: a narrative review. Trisha Greenhalgh, James Raftery, Steve Hanney, Matthew Glover. BMC Medicine.

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Conceptualizing the elements of research impact: towards semantic standards. Brian Belcher, Janet Halliwell. Humanities & Social Sciences Communications.

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Video tutorials and training sources

What Does Research Impact Mean? (ENLIGHT. University of Galway)

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Five Common Impact Myths (ENLIGHT. University of Galway)

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Defining Research Impact (ENLIGHT. University of Galway. Walcott Communications)

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How to Define Research Impact? (PARTHENOS project. Ghent University)

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Research beyond academia: strategies for real world impact. Taylor & Francis Group

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Understanding Research Impact. Research Impact Academy

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