Impact is the change or outcomes arising from research that benefit society, culture, public policy or services, the economy, health, and life quality. Impact is distinct from knowledge exchange (e.g. meetings, media, public engagement) although knowledge exchange can have impact if measurable change is enabled. The ESRC define knowledge exchange as "two way exchange between researchers and research users to share ideas, evidence, experience and skills". The Pure modules stores information about your impact in a manner that is accessible to you and those you give permission to view your account.
To ensure that best practices are used, record your activities even if there is currently no perceived impact. This allows for all steps of the activity to be detailed and the impact can be added later when recognised.
Use the Impact Toolkit to help understand impact, recognise key stakeholders, and to make the most of your research and engagement activities. For more information, visit the Maximising Impact from Research webpage from Research & Knowledge Exchange Support.
Narrative and Visibility
Impact records are made public by default, however you can change the level of access by adjusting the visibility option to suit your requirements.
- Tips for Recording Impact Records
- Gather and record evidence of impact as it develops, let the Impact team know and they can assist you with recording. As collaborators, industry partners and policy practitioners will change roles over time, you may not be able to request evidence or testimonials once they move on.
- Review and update your Impact record regularly, particularly when there has been change or progress.
- Keep a record of collaborative interactions you are engaged with in the activities module and link these to your impact record.
- Why Record Activities, Events and Impacts on Pure?
Getting into the habit of recording information via Pure means that you will start to build a record of valuable information that can be used for: reporting to funders, promotional content for staffnet pages and as a narrative for building an impact case study for REF or otherwise.
Your narrative in Pure should contain the key insights from the research, the process by which the research findings produced a beneficial change outside academia, and a description of the nature and extent of the impact. Please note: It is important to include evidence and dates for the main, or pivotal, impacts claimed and the critical links from ‘underpinning’ research to impact.
Activities like public engagement, school visits, media interviews, dissemination to non-academics, training sessions are not impact as such – unless you can show that a subsequent change/benefit has been produced. These individual activities should be added to Pure in the Activities template; they can be linked to an impact case study later.
- Permissions and Record Keeping
The approach you use to evidence impact will be based on the impact and research that has been or hopefully will be achieved. To ensure you record impact using the best practice, follow the guidance presented:
Awards and Recognition: Ensure all shortlisting or awards records through organisation press releases, media coverage and correspondence are kept.
Project Partners: Discuss what evidence your partner would be happy to share with you and if they are happy to share the benefit they perceived from using the research or being part of the collaboration, and if they can evidence this. Information from project partners can providence evidence of organisational change or processes. This may be the only method to gaining confidential or commercially sensitive data.
Direct Feedback: Impact can take time to demonstrate so contacting participants after a certain time period is useful in finding out if any Impact has occurred. The Public Engagement team can assist with event evaluation and conference organisers may be able to include questions in their feedback forms.
Websites, News and Social Media: Screenshots, weblinks, and dates of news publication or broadcasts need to be recorded. Weblinks may change so it is important to keep the link and date this was taken, alongside a screenshot showing the evidence you are citing. If you are receiving a lot of comments on social media you may want to record a selected few that demonstrate engagement or the public debate that has been effected.
Testimonials and Correspondence: Testimonials from senior independent figures can be used to show how research has influenced their organisation, how guidelines were adopted and what can be done due to the research findings. Requesting testimonials can be done through an introduction email. Emails or correspondence you receive on your impact activities should be stored well so they cna be easily referenced. Make a note of individuals names and the organisation they are a part of and create a file for relevant email e.g. impact emails or similar to be accessed at a later date.