The Shiftwork of Research Impact

Shiftwork doesn’t happen overnight or all at once. It happens over time in recursive loops and requires spaces where we can make mistakes and rehearse new ways of doing research. With this recognition comes respect that shiftwork needs space, time and support; shifting how we work will be as challenging as it will be rewarding, it will require intellectual curiosity and humility.

Although we see the practice shiftwork of social impact as more complicated than completing a pre-planned activity, we also recognise that to get started it is worth knowing the basics. If you are looking for an introduction to what exists, then this impact literacy worksheet by Emerald Publishing introduces core steps and thoughtful questions. If you want to learn how to share evidence of impact with a funder or write an impact narrative they also have ready-made activities to help do that work. We have pulled out here some initial questions that can help get you started in connecting the dots between the research activities and context, between the stakeholders and the engagement strategies.

  • What’s the reason your research matters?

  • Who has confirmed your research is really needed?

  • What part are you specifically focusing on?

  • Who are the important stakeholders?

  • How will they inform your research activities and prospective impact?

  • How and when will you engage each stakeholder in the research process? 
  • What benefits will come from engaging at different stages?

  • What methods could you use to inform, consult, co-create or empower stakeholders?

  • How will you translate your research so it might be taken up by others?

  • What skills do you need to make this impact happen?

  • How can you develop them?