Beyond numbers: Understanding impact through words

Funders often find themselves data rich and intelligence poor, and researchers can often feel the weight of ‘proving’ the benefits of their work.  Impact assessments can help, but often rely heavily on numbers which only tell part of the story. Qualitative methods can enable a rich(er) account of impact and a firmer understanding of how research leads to non-academic change. In this session we’ll discuss basic qualitative techniques (eg. surveys, semi structured interviews), how they help explain the real impact (or not) of research and how we best align our methods to measuring impact in the future.

Dr Julie Bayley

Dr Julie Bayley is Director of Research Impact Development at the University of Lincoln, leading the development and implementation of the institution’s impact strategy. Julie is currently commissioned as Emerald Publishing’s Impact Literacy Advisor, and collaborates/consults widely across the sector on the impact on impact, impact literacy and professional development. She is co-chair of the INORMS ‘Research Impact and Stakeholder Engagement’ (RISE), ARMA’s Director of Qualifications and a member of ARMA’s Professional Development Committee. Julie is a Chartered Health Psychologist with a PhD in Health Psychology and Impact and has been an applied researcher in behaviour change interventions since 2003.

Mark Taylor

Mark has worked as a researcher at Merck, in technology transfer at Oxford University Innovation, a venture capitalist at 3i and looking at organisational/cultural change at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. After managing the Oxford Biomedical Research Centre he then joined NIHR looking at intellectual property issues in 2012 before being asked to help NIHR's Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) consider issues around impact evaluation and assessment since 2015.

Mark has completed a post-graduate diploma at the Said Business School and a postgraduate certificate in Health Technology Assessment at the University of Sheffield. He is currently working on helping CCF staff to be more impact savvy while canvassing opinion from Universities and the NHS on what impact might be in terms of patient benefit and how we might measure/describe it.

Mark works part-time and has been a Trustee for the MS Society and briefly at Asthma UK. He is currently on the BMJ’s Patient Panel.