Tool Guideline

How To Guide: A Framework for Engaged Research

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 15 June 2018

Sarah Bowman, Trinity College Dublin; Kate Morris, Campus Engage, IUA; and Prof Maura Adshead, University of Limerick.

Engaged research describes a wide range of rigorous research approaches and methodologies
that share a common interest in collaborative engagement with the community and aim to improve, understand or investigate an issue of public interest or concern, including societal challenges. Engaged research is advanced with community partners rather than for or about them.

A great deal of engaged research literature refers to ‘community’ engagement. In the context of this document, ‘community’ refers to a range of public research stakeholders, including public or professional service and product users, policy makers, members of the public, civil and civic society organisations (CSOs) and others actors.

This Guide is informed by an international literature review and a Campus Engage facilitated year-long national and international consultation with over 350 researchers, policy makers, funding agency personnel and community partners. The consultation led to the development of a national report, Engaged Research – Society & Higher Education Working Together to Address Grand Societal Challenges. 

While every research project is unique, the Engaged Research Framework presented in this Guide encourages researchers to identify opportunities for research stakeholders to be involved at each stage of the project lifecycle. This Framework emerged from the review of existing publications on the subject, and the national and international consultation.

In real world application, engaged research is messier and less straightforward than the diagram shown. Thus, the Engaged Research Framework, like Beck’s Tube map of London, is not a perfect representation; instead, it is a simplified model designed to encourage researchers to develop a clear and comprehensible plan for who is engaged across the lifecycle of the research project – when, why and how. The Framework offers key reflective questions that correspond with research activities to reduce tokenistic engagement and advance co-created research. Utilise this Framework to create a thoughtful research plan that involves research stakeholders relevant to the enquiry and to confirm that the participatory methods selected align with the aims and objectives of the programme. 



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