Research and knowledge to action projects usually aim to enrich our world with evidence and insight. But demonstrating that your project has made a difference, unpicking impacts, and generating convincing evidence of that impact can be hard.

Matter of Focus Co-Director and University of Edinburgh Honorary Fellow Dr Sarah Morton hosts this webinar exploring how to navigate some of the challenges of understanding and assessing research impact when policy influencing, practice influencing, coproducing, engaging communities or the public, and in other approaches to mobilising knowledge that can’t be simply measured.

Sarah’s pioneering approach to understanding research impact and knowledge to action work is based on contribution analysis. The approach has been applied in seven independent impact assessments and is the basis for our approach and software.

In this webinar Sarah shares the approach and some of the lessons learned from carrying out impact assessments on different topics and parts of the world.

Who will find this webinar of interest?

  • Anyone carrying out research with the view to influencing, inspiring and educating people, and where issues of cause and effect are more complex.
  • Research leaders that want to be able to inspire others to work in impactful ways.
  • Leaders or administrators of research centres or evidence to action teams that want to meaningfully track their impact.
  • Researchers or teams concerned with getting evidence into action in the public and third sectors.

Webinar host – Dr Sarah Morton

Sarah has been working on evidence to action for 21 years. She is internationally recognised for developing innovative approaches to ensure decision-makers have access to the best evidence for taking organisations, policies, and practices forward.

Sarah pioneered a participatory approach using contribution analysis to understand impact, and this is the basis of our approach here at Matter of Focus. Cutting her knowledge exchange (KE) teeth at the pioneering Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, Sarah broadened understanding of the interaction between research, policy and practice through research and practice work with UNICEF, What Work Scotland and others, and worked alongside organisations to use evidence for improving services for the families and communities they serve (with Healthcare Improvement Scotland, Starcatchers, The Scottish Book Trust, Shelter Scotland and others).  

The research impact assessment framework Sarah developed is based on contribution analysis; she has used it to carry out seven independent impact assessments, including 14 case studies, of research centres and initiatives across eight countries around the world. 
Sarah’s background is in social sciences and participation with a degree in Sociology, Masters in Community Education and Social Policy by Research, and a PhD in Social Policy. Prior to KE work she held networking, policy development and research roles in the voluntary sector and spent ten years tutoring adult learners in community settings and with the Open University. She worked in KE at the University of Edinburgh from 2001-2017, and remains an Honorary Fellow of the University.

Watch the recording