How to measure your impact

Research that contributes to different areas will need different approach

If your research contributes to government policy then the stakeholders, knowledge and adoption approaches, and performance indicators you use may be different to those you would use for a collaborative industry project that contributes to on-ground practice.

The two main types of monitoring and evaluation methods are qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative evaluation methods

Allow stakeholders to explore issues and provide feedback in more depth and complexity, unbiased by set questions. They can give details of evidence, examples, problems and ideas, but can be more difficult and costly to analyse and report.

Qualitative evaluation methods include:

  • focus groups
  • individual in-depth interviews
  • written comments
  • most significant change
  • quick polling face to face

Quantitative evaluation methods

These are relatively easy to analyse and report, but don’t tell you ‘why’ results are as they are.

Quantitative evaluation methods include:

  • survey questionnaires
  • special instruments such as 360 degree surveys
  • electronic surveying
  • card sorts
  • quick voting

Quantitative evaluation methods allow you to:

  • get precise measurements
  • track progress over time
  • measure strengths and weaknesses
  • compare to benchmarks

Some quantitative evaluation questions:

  • Was a draft report submitted to X Committee by a specified date?
  • How many people attended a public meeting?
  • What was the increase in the number of requests to be put on the electronic newsletter list?