How to do effective knowledge exchange - ESRC


Defining the purpose of your knowledge exchange activities

The objectives of your knowledge exchange activities will be connected with the objectives of your overall research.

A good place to start is to clarify the aims of your research. Ask yourself: as well as contributing and challenging knowledge, what other impacts do I want to have, where and why?

Researchers who are successful at defining purpose:

  • discuss their research ideas, designs, possible stakeholders and emerging findings with others
  • put themselves in another person’s position and ask why they should be interested in your research
  • list the reasons and benefits that could arise from the knowledge exchange activities, such as:
    • finding a collaborator, advocates, or research partner
    • testing out your ideas in a real-life situation
    • influencing business, policymakers and practitioners
    • testing different ways of sharing your ideas.

You can also use third party tools to identify the purpose of your activities, such as Theory of change, which clarifies the steps you need to take and assumptions being made on the way to meeting a long term goal.

By discussing your research with others and using tools you should be able to identify the nature and interconnections of impacts that you anticipate arising from your research.

The knowledge exchange activities you choose will vary depending on your intended impacts: conceptual change among other researchers will require different activities than conceptual impact among policymakers.

Find out more about Knowledge Transfer Partnerships, which support highly innovative projects that exchange knowledge, skills or technology arising from excellent social science.

Last updated: 31 August 2021

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