Exciting times are afoot this week! In just under two weeks time I will be holding my first data gathering exercise in the form of a group workshop to look at opinions around and experiences of social impact from a researcher point of view.
Designing the workshop
There will be around 10-15 participants, including researchers from across the career spectrum including ECRs, Lecturers, Professors and Heads of Research. I chose to sample participants in this way to make sure there would be a diverse range of experience to draw upon.
When designing the workshop I have been drawing on principles of action research, keeping the focus very much on the co-creation of knowledge and exploring areas which the participants believe to be viable and useful. This will ensure that I am exploring areas of importance to researchers, and not just relying on my own assumptions of what the key issues are.
With this in mind, the workshop will focus around 2 key areas:
- What does social impact mean to you?
- Which areas need to be more thoroughly understood?
The participants will be discussing these questions in small groups, then feeding back their responses to the whole group. These feedback sessions will be recorded on dictaphones to allow for transcription and analysis later on.
Understanding the research context
One of the things I wanted to make sure of was that the participants would be able to understand why I want to use their opinions and experiences, and how it fits in with my research as a whole. To help with this, I will be using a couple of visual aids:
I developed this ‘impact tree’ as part of a poster presentation for the ARMA conference last year, to help visualise the scope of my research. Hopefully this will help participants to understand what is in and out of scope in terms of defining social impact.
I will also be using a scanned in copy of my research schedule to show, in a very informal (and owl-covered!) way, how the information gathered from the workshop will feed into my wider research plan.
Hopefully the workshop will be a useful experience for the participants as well as for me – I will certainly do an update post after it is finished.