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Getting research into action: issues, challenges, solutions by Dr Sarah Morton

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Sarah Morton has worked across research, policy and practice for most of her career, and will draw on examples from different settings encountered over this time in her presentation. She is keen to interrogate our learning about effective evidence use from the last 20 years, and review how this can be supported from research and practice perspectives. She will present a vision for the effective use of evidence of all kinds to plan, develop and improve policy, practice, and services. As part of this she will explain some of the ways that she is currently developing tools and support for effective evidence use.

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Getting research into action: issues, challenges, solutions by Dr Sarah Morton

  1. 1. Research, Impact, Value & LIS - #lisrival - Edinburgh - 11th July 2019 Practitioner research: value, impact, and priorities Professor Hazel Hall Edinburgh Napier University RIVAL Network Event 1 – July 11th 2019 – Edinburgh Getting research into action: issues, challenges, solutions Dr Sarah Morton, Matter of Focus
  2. 2. Getting research into action: issues, challenges, solutions Dr Sarah Morton, July 2019 RIVAL event, Edinburgh © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  3. 3. A vision for knowledge to action… © 2018 Matter of Focus® Research findings always linked with relevant people, policy and practice Open discussion and debate informed by latest evidence Practitioners and policy-makers have the data and evidence then need at their fingertips
  4. 4. Research impact: where are we now? • Many research organisations with an impact imperative (in and out of HE sector) • Increasing use of outcomes (SDG’s Government performance systems) • REF in UK and EIF in Australia • Shift towards impact: • Impact prizes (ESRC, NCCPE, etc..) • Researchers blogging, tweeting etc.. • Funding: e.g.: ESRC impact accelerator account • Core competency of research staff
  5. 5. Universities: Impact through the research cycle 1.Potential/future impact (Pathways to Impact ) 2. Maximising impact of current research (Knowledge Exchange) 3. Reporting on impact of previous research (REF Impact) Developing impact case studies for the REF www.publicengagement.ac.uk
  6. 6. Policy and practice paradigm shift (ongoing) © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  7. 7. But…research use is messy © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  8. 8. City Council of The Hague deliberating in 1636 Jan Antonisz. van Ravesteyn
  9. 9. Carol Weiss (1979) Research used in policy… Problem solving: evidence to solve policy problems (rarely) Knowledge-Driven: drives new technological developments Interactive: interactive, communicative Political: lobby for political viewpoints Tactical: to delay action, deflect criticism, etc Enlightenment: slowly changes conceptualisation of problems and solutions
  10. 10. Practitioners’ ‘mindlines’ Adapted from Gabbay J, and May A l BMJ 2004;329:1013 each other practice experience Client’s view “reps” “the centre” eg govt department opinion leaders teachers/training “they say” reading/updates infrastructure meetings And in practice
  11. 11. How do we navigate this messiness? © 2018 Matter of Focus® Evidence of what is effective… practice what we preach How to embed that evidence in our practice in K2A
  12. 12. Thinking about research impact- a quick tour of key ideas © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  13. 13. What does it mean to use research? Research uptake: people are interested in research, read it, talk about it, come to a presentation etc.. Research use: people do something with the research, change their view, pass it on to someone else, apply it to practice or policy Research impact: a contribution to change as a result of research use Morton (2015)
  14. 14. Hi! Have you heard this? It’s really going to change how you do things round here. 1. Research does not speak for itself
  15. 15. Animating research
  16. 16. 2. Research does not stand alone
  17. 17. Contextual analysis
  18. 18. 3. Research has to be integrated
  19. 19. Integrating new knowledge through discussion
  20. 20. Combining different types of knowledge What should we do?
  21. 21. 4. It’s not just learning – unlearning matters too
  22. 22. 5. Using research is often not an event
  23. 23. Work with ChildLine
  24. 24. 6. Knowledge is often co- produced
  25. 25. 7. Not products but process
  26. 26. Products + processes • KE strategy for every project • Involving research users from the start • More than one mechanism for dissemination
  27. 27. 8. It’s not all about decisions but often more about framings
  28. 28. 9. Leadership support for research creation and use
  29. 29. 10. Investment- skin in the game
  30. 30. Barriers and facilitators to research use Over to you! Discussion.
  31. 31. What hinders research use? Source: Carnegie UK, Evidence Exchange: learning from social policy across the UK
  32. 32. Top 5 barriers Oliver K, et al (2014).
  33. 33. Top 5 facilitators Oliver K, et al (2014).
  34. 34. • Established relationships and networks with user communities • Involving users at all stages with research • Well-planned user-engagement and KTE strategies • Portfolios of research activity that build reputations with research users • Good infrastructure and management support • The involvement of intermediaries and knowledge brokers as translators, amplifiers, network providers *Summary of findings from the UK ESRC’s impact assessment activities The most important drivers of impact are:
  35. 35. Research utilisation: what have we learned since 2001? Research use is: • a process, not a product • complex, context specific • translation, relationships, and systems matter • often long time frames • many kinds of evidence.. research just one
  36. 36. Three generations framework system relationships translation Targeted and packaged for key audiences Build and take part in relevant networks, identify champions Consider contextual factors, barriers, opportunities and enablers of change
  37. 37. 10/07/2019 41©2018 www.matter-of-focus.com @matter_of_focus More likely to address these challenges and issues if…
  38. 38. Start with an impact vision (or pathway) © 2018 Matter of Focus® Helps to focus on potential impact Provides a way of planning for impact Communicates about what matters to the project or initiative Provides a structure for thinking and learning about impact Is a framework for evaluating impact
  39. 39. What difference will it make? Understanding change What do we want to change and Who can make that happen? We make this happen if we have the right resources and activities We need people to respond well and have the ability to change to make this happen We need other policies and ways of doing things to be helping and things beyond our control might stop this happening Sphere of indirect influence Sphere of direct influence Sphere of direct control What does the project do? People we have indirectly influenced do things differently People or groups we directly influence Here we control what happens WHY WHAT / WHO HOW
  40. 40. Pathways to impact are best when • Focus on the outcomes and impacts that matter • Have an understanding of different levels of impacts • Include a theory or model of impact (how we believe impact will happen) • Have taken account of the context in which any work sits • Have buy-in from key stakeholders • Are used as working documents © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  41. 41. Mapping a pathway to impact © 2018 Matter of Focus® What they do differently What we do Who with How they feel What they learn and gain What difference does this make?
  42. 42. Mapping a pathway to impact © 2018 Matter of Focus® What they do differently What we do Who with How they feel What they learn and gain What difference does this make? Here explain the key activities Explain who is involved How they react to the activities, what helps them engage positively? What knowledge, skills or attitudes change? What behaviours, policies or practices change? What is better for people or communities?
  43. 43. Collect evidence on pathways to • Understand if the change we seek is happening • Learn and adapt • Evidence the changes that result from our work © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  44. 44. A bespoke patchwork of data, feedback and evidence © 2018 Matter of Focus® Website visits/downloads Social media Feedback about experiences of events/programme Notes from staff meetings about key risks/assumptions Reflective logs Focus groups On-line surveys Press/media coverage Behavior change measures Creative feedback Videos/photos Policy analysis
  45. 45. At Matter of Focus © 2018 Matter of Focus® Have a software tool OutNav to help organisations set out, navigate, collate evidence, understand and report on change. Work closely with organisations to help them get the evidence they need
  46. 46. A vision for the future of knowledge to action… © 2018 Matter of Focus®
  47. 47. 10/07/2019©2018 www.matter-of-focus.com @matter_of_focus Thank you! Let’s keep the conversation going: Website: www.matter-of-focus.com Twitter: @matter_of_focus LinkedIn: …/company/matter-of-focus