Narrative describing research activities and/or the impact that has arisen from research activities is necessary for a broad range of uses for example general communication to stakeholders, for research evaluation (e.g. ex post appraisal of specific funding schemes or priority research areas), and/or exercises to assessing the quality of research (e.g. Research Excellent Framework).
Of course, there are also metrics. If used carefully and appropriately metrics have their place. Its not always possible to ‘count things’ though, or even when it is possible quite often the numbers don’t mean much without putting some context around them with some narrative.
Narrative can therefore come in many forms, such as:
• One sentence - perhaps to give context to a number
• A brief impact - a few lines focussing on a particular outcome/impact
• Case study - a richer and more detailed and evidenced story
• Time lines - a way to show the long-term progress of an area of research
Its easier to put this narrative together than you think. Nowadays with the drive from research funders to collect information on and understand the outcomes from the research that they fund, there is a huge amount of data/information available which can be the starting point for building and telling the story. Also, through the progress of open access, a large proportion of research papers are now freely available, which are obviously a key source of information for case studies.
I was very pleased to have an abstract accepted to present a pecha kucha session at INORMS 2018 on this very subject. It was titled ‘From Data to Impact Narrative’ and presented a very straight forward and simple process to take the data that you have to hand, and put together a short narrative or case study.
Unfortunately due to unforeseen reasons I am unable to be there for the session, so can’t present it. I am therefore sharing the presentation and notes for each slide here in case it can be of use. I am of course also happy to answer any questions, just drop me an email.