Resource authors: Deb James, National Council for Voluntary OrganisationsProject: Evaluating the Legacy of Animative and Iterative Connected Communities Projects: A Three Dimensional Model of Change
There is a growing interest in the idea that research impact matters and that as researchers we should seek to maximise the impact of our research wherever possible. Discussions about research impact most commonly focus on research – the impact of findings, how our findings are used, what people learn from them, how they influence others in their thinking, decisions or actions – so, what is left behind is primarily knowledge, insights, data, information. Some also consider the impact of participation in research as a core aspect of research impact as, for instance, in action research or participatory or empowerment research. Research legacy is not as often discussed as research impact, but is a useful way to broaden out conversations about the value of research. It enables us to consider and be more proactive about what else we might ‘leave behind’ that others could benefit from – for instance, tangible legacies such as research outputs, assets, artefacts, resources that may be ‘reusable’, or more intangible legacies such as changes in attitudes or culture, new connections or working relationships, new approaches or ideas that others might build on or practices they might adopt.